Customers observe social distancing inside the IKEA Tottenham store in London, after it reopened to the public following the introduction of measures to bring England out of lockdown on Monday June 1, 2020. The British government has lifted some lockdown restrictions to restart social life and activate the economy while still endeavoring to limit the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 coronavirus. (Yui Mok/PA via AP)

LONDON Official figures show that the British economy shrank by a colossal 20.4% in April, the first full month that the country was in its coronavirus lockdown.

The Office for National Statistics said Friday that all areas of the economy were hit, in particular pubs, education, health, and car sales.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics, said April’s fall is “the biggest the U.K. has ever seen,” and “almost 10 times larger than the steepest pre-COVID-19 fall.”

April’s decline follows a 5.8% contraction in March. In April, the economy was about a quarter smaller than it was in February.

The U.K. was put into lockdown on March 23 and restrictions are slowly being eased. On Monday, nonessential shops, such as department stores and electronic retailers, are due to reopen.


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