As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the United Kingdom economy has gone into recession for the first time in 11 years after a 20.4% drop in gross domestic product (GDP) during the lockdown.
On Wednesday, the country’s Office for National Statistics in its findings said the sharp fall was seen during the second quarter of the year from April to June – during the height of stay-at-home measures to control the spread of COVID-19.
This could be compared to the 2.2% drop in GDP from the first quarter in January to March.
Earlier, the body also reported that the number of people working in the UK fell by the highest amount since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak says the recession is a result of unprecedented pandemic situations, but shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds disagrees. She blames prime minister Boris Johnson for the scale of the economic decline.
The president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Adrian James has said the UK falling into recession is “terrible news” for the many people’s mental health,
He said “those already unemployed, those living in poverty, young people, single-parent families and people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are likely to be hit the hardest.”
Since March, around 730,000 have been taken off the payroll with the decline greatest among younger and older workers, along with those in lower-skilled jobs.
On Wednesday, UK reported 1,009 new cases in the past 24 hours, marking the third time in a month that the number of daily infections has surpassed 1,000.
According to Johns Hopkins University data, the country has recorded more than 315,500 cases of COVID-19 and more than 46,700 deaths.
Belarus President Closes Western Borders, Puts Army On High Alert
Protesters in Belarus are still angry in their sixth week of mass protests demanding the resignation of president Alexander Lukashenko.
The president has announced, in retaliation, he is putting troops on high alert and closing the country’s borders with Poland and Lithuania. He also said the Belarusian border with Ukraine would be strengthened.
Lukashenko insists the six weeks of protests are driven by the west. He faces increasing criticism from the united states and the European Union.
Demonstrations began after the disputed august presidential election official results gave the authoritarian leader a sixth term in office–results opponents say were manipulated.
Bolivian Interim President Anez Withdraws From Election Race
Bolivia’s interim president Jeanine Anez has withdrawn from next month’s presidential election, saying she’s withdrawing in the interest of the party.
Anez, a former conservative senator, took office during the power vacuum that followed former president Morales’s departure after allegations of irregularities in last year’s election. Those allegations fueled violent protests, and army pressure forced the country’s first indigenous president into exile in Mexico.
Anez says if she does not step down, Morales would possibly return to power.
She declined to name the candidate for whom she will vote.
Next month’s election is the delayed rerun of last year’s ballot. Anez’s candidacy had sparked controversy after she initially ruled herself out and pledged to guide the country to transparent new elections.
By pulling out of the race, analysts say Anez could increase chances that the election will be pushed to a second round by consolidating the anti-Arce vote.
To avoid a second round, the election winner requires at least 40 percent of valid votes in the first round and a 10-point advantage over the closest competitor.
First Case-Free Day For New Zealand In Five Weeks
New Zealand for the first time in more than five weeks has reported no new confirmed cases of the coronavirus amid efforts to stamp out an outbreak discovered in Auckland last month ending a spell of 102 days free of community transmission.
The South Pacific nation with its population of five million has reported more than 1,800 cases of COVID-19 and 25 fatalities.
The report on Friday also marked the fourth consecutive day without any cases of community transmission. All recent cases have been found among quarantined travellers returning from abroad.
Following strict measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic which were widely praised, New Zealand is in its deepest recession in decades after the country’s GDP shrank by 12.2% between April and June as the lockdown and border closures hit.
Auckland lockdown began on 12 August after four cases were detected in the city of 1.5 million.
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