European stock markets rebounded slightly Tuesday from the previous session's sharp falls triggered by escalating virus fears.
Asian stock markets retreated however, with investors catching up with Monday's slide across Europe.
The dollar traded mixed after US lawmakers, as expected, agreed on a massive financial stimulus package.
The pound, which slumped Monday on UK virus and Brexit fears, retreated once more but losses were far less acute.
Oil prices followed a similar pattern.
"Fears in relation to the new strain of the coronavirus have faded a little and so have some of the concerns that the UK could suffer a prolonged period of isolation," noted David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets UK.
Britain's government is considering tests for truckers as part of talks with French authorities to allow the resumption of freight traffic suspended owing to the strain.
France has suspended arrivals from the United Kingdom over the new strain - said to be 70% more transmissible - that has resulted in a third lockdown for London and much of southeast England.
Other countries have imposed flight bans.
It comes as Britain and the European Union try to thrash out a last-gasp post-Brexit trade deal.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen are pressing to break a logjam over fishing rights with just nine days to go before Britain leaves the EU single market and customs union.
Lawmakers in Washington have meanwhile finally passed a bill setting aside around $900 billion in support measures for the ailing US economy, bringing an end to months of haggling.
The package will now go to the White House for President Donald Trump to sign this week.
But analysts said the move had been priced into markets.
"The new... bill will help some workers and businesses get through the winter but it will do little to accelerate the arrival of an economic recovery," said David Kelly, at JP Morgan Asset Management.