Coronavirus live news: pandemic plunges UK into deepest slump on record; 10 die after fire at Indian Covid facility










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UK: coronavirus plunges country into deepest slump on record

Britain’s economy will be officially declared in recession this week for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, as the coronavirus outbreak plunges the country into the deepest slump on record.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday are expected to show gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of economic prosperity, fell in the three months to June by 21%.

After a decline of 2.2% in the first quarter, the latest snapshot will confirm the UK economy slid into recession after the outbreak spread in March and the government imposed a nationwide lockdown to contain the pandemic. Economists consider two consecutive quarters of shrinking GDP as the technical definition of a recession.

Confirmation of the Covid-19 recession this week will come as the government tries to strike a balance between relaxing lockdown restrictions to kickstart growth, while also needing to prevent a severe second wave in infections. After four month of harsh controls, growing numbers of companies are coming under severe financial stress, with job losses steadily beginning to mount. Some localised restrictions are also being launched as infections rise.

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Ministers have rejected a call from the children’s commissioner for England to bring in routine coronavirus testing in English schools.

Nick Gibb, the schools minister, confirmed that teachers and pupils in England will not have access to routine testing when they reopen in September, and will instead be primarily reliant on hygiene and distancing measures to control any spread of the virus.

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