Equity markets witnessed a meltdown in Monday’s trading as benchmark indices Sensex and Nifty roiled over a new strain of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom, leading to selloff across sectors. The 30-share BSE Sensex cracked 3%, losing 1,406.73 points, to close at 45,553.96. The broader 50-share NSE Nifty slipped 432.15 points or 3.14% to finish trading at 13,328.40.

The equity markets started dipping around noon on Monday, before the indices went into a tailspin after the Union government banned all flights from United Kingdom till December 31. The suspension will come into effect from 11.59 pm on December 22. Several countries, including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Argentina and Chile, have also announced similar bans amid concerns that the new coronavirus strain seems to spread more easily. However, experts say it is unclear if that is the case or whether they pose any concern for vaccines or lead to more severe infections.

From the day’s intra-day high, Sensex index dropped 2,133 points and logged its sharpest intra-day fall since April, Business Standard reported. All sectors finished in the red, with the public sector bank and metal sub-indices on Nifty, losing the most at 6.93% and 5.54%, respectively. Market heavyweights like ONGC, State Bank of India, Mahindra and ITC slipped in the range of 5% to 9%.

“Domestic equities witnessed sharp selling pressure today and wiped out more than Rs 7 lakh crore of investors’ wealth in a single day,” Binod Modi, head of strategy at Reliance Securities, told PTI.

Global markets too felt the heat as stock exchanges in Paris, Frankfurt and London were trading up to 2.50% lower in early deals, according to PTI. In Asia, bourses in Hong Kong and Tokyo ended in the red, while Shanghai and Seoul settled with mild gains.

Global oil benchmark Brent crude futures plummeted 5.30% to $49.49 (Rs 3,664.30) per barrel.