All three major stock indices opened sharply lower Monday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average opening down 979 points before posting a slight recovery in early morning trading.

The Dow was down some 780 points while the S&P fell by 2.6% and the Nasdaq took a hit of nearly 3%, all on fears over the global spread of the new coronavirus.

The virus is surging in South Korea, Iran and Italy after it emerged in China in December. Beijing has been grappling with its spread in the time since, and has reported nearly 2,600 deaths amid an economic slowdown

Read more: US: Dow opens 900 points down amid coronavirus fears