Brazilian travel-related shares plunge as COVID-19 fears mount

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SAO PAULO, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Travel-related shares were among the top losers in Brazil's stock index Bovespa (.BVSP) on Friday as it fell about 4% in early afternoon trading, with fears about a new coronavirus variant first detected in South Africa spooking investors.

Shares in Brazilian airlines Gol (GOLL4.SA) and Azul plunged about 13%, while travel operator CVC (CVCB3.SA) posted an 11% fall and planemaker Embraer (EMBR3.SA) was down 10%.

Brazilian health regulator Anvisa recommended on Friday that travel be restricted from some African countries due to the detection of a new COVID-19 variant, but President Jair Bolsonaro appeared to dismiss such measures. read more

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On the other hand, the EU and Britain are already tightening border controls as researchers look into whether the new mutation is vaccine-resistant. read more

Analysts at Guide Investimentos said that global markets are facing a sharp risk off sentiment due to the uncertainties regarding the new B.1.1.529 variant, with shares and commodities being hammered.

They added that initial figures on the transmissibility of the variant are already worrisome, but noted that a potential drop in vaccines' efficacy is the biggest fear right now.

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Reporting by Gabriel Araujo, Editing by Timothy Heritage and Louise Heavens

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