New data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has revealed a shocking reality onset by the lockdown that began in March.

According to the ONS, the UK economy shrunk by a whopping 20.4% in April – the first full month of lockdown – halting virtually every area of economic activity. This is the largest monthly decline witnessed in the country since records began in 1997. It also shows that the months between February and April saw a decline of 10.4% in comparison to the prior three months.

The decline is reportedly three times greater than the one witnessed between 2008 and 2009 during the financial crisis and is already being reported as the country’s worst recession in 300 years. This comes only days after a report from the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development revealed that the UK is anticipated to suffer the worst economic crisis in the developed world, outstripping France, Italy, Spain and Germany.

Similarly, the Bank of England has recently predicted that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will drop by 25% in the second quarter.

However, analysts believe that the high decline was restricted only to April, as it was the first month that strict travel restrictions were initiatlly imposed. During May, the government had already begun easing restrictions.

“Our own surveys and wider indicators have suggested a pick-up in economy activity, but I think it’s really too early to know how quickly economic activity will recover in the coming months,” said Jonathan Athow, the ONS deputy of National Statisticians for Economic Statistics.

Most countries across the globe have been incapacitated by the coronavirus outbreak, affecting almost all walks of life. In the UK, nine million people are on furlough while the number of unemployed has reached 2.1 million in April, while the worst affected industries have been air transport, car production, travel agencies and food and drink.

But as positive cases of COVID-19 continue to drop, bringing down the infection rate, it seems that the UK is finally moving in the right direction. Albeit, very slowly.

Aisha Mohamed