COVID-19 significantly shrinks UK economy

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A MAN wearing a protective face mask takes a selfie on London Bridge on March 21, 2020, on the day that UK regions traditionally desperate for tourists, pleaded for people not to visit the coast or the countryside for fear of spreading the coronavirus

Britain’s economy shrank two percent in the first three months of the year, rocked by the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Analysts predict that it may still get worse going by information released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

According to ONS, gross domestic product shrank in the first quartre compared with the prior three months in the largest slump since the global financial crisis in the fourth quarter of 2008 while economic output dived by a record 5.8 percent in March from the previous month, the ONS noted in especially grim news which sent the London stock market down more than one percent in early deals.

“March’s GDP figures showed that the UK economy was already in freefall within two weeks of the (coronavirus) lockdown going into effect,” said Capital Economics analyst Ruth Gregory. And with the restrictions in place until mid-May and then only lifted very slightly, April will be far worse. This release captures the first direct effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and the government measures taken to reduce transmission of the virus. There has been a widespread disruption to economic activity,” ONS stated.

Britain implemented its COVID-19 lockdown — which is only just starting to be slowly eased — on March 23.

But Bank of England (BoE) had already warned last week that the economic paralysis could lead to Britain’s worst recession in centuries.

According to a forecast by BoE, the pandemic spared no area of British economy.

“With the arrival of the pandemic, nearly every aspect of the economy was hit in March, dragging growth to a record monthly fall. Services and construction saw record declines on the month with education, car sales and restaurants all falling substantially. The pandemic also hit trade globally, with UK imports and exports falling over the last couple of months, including a notable drop in imports from China,” it said.

The BoE had forecast last week that UK output was likely to crash by 14 percent this year.

Britain has recorded over 32,000 deaths since the outbreak of COVID-19 to mark the worst in Europe and second only to the United States — although there are indications that the true toll is higher.

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