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UK economy reaches pre-pandemic level as lockdown eases


The easing of lockdown restrictions in April helped the British economy grow at its fastest rate since July 2020 and regain ground lost during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Office for National Statistics said the economy grew 2.3% during April, with shops selling non-essential goods reopening and many other service providers such as hairdressers resuming work. Schools were fully open for in-class learning, while pubs and restaurants were able to serve customers outside throughout the month.

Four UK nations – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – are easing lockdown restrictions in phases after a sharp drop in new coronavirus infections and vaccines rapidly rolling out.

The British economy remained 3.7% smaller than in February 2020, before Britain’s first virus lockdown, despite growth recorded in April. Of the major sectors of the economy, only construction was above the level it was on the eve of the pandemic.

The British economy is expected to gain more ground in the summer with the remaining restrictions being lifted.

“After a historic collapse in spring 2020, the UK is well on track to return to its pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year,” said Holger Schmeeding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank. “Given recent data trends, this could happen even sooner.”

Although most sectors of the economy have reopened, there are concerns that the next planned easing for England, scheduled for later this month, could be delayed, as a largely delta variant of new infections was recently identified. Went. India.

The hope is that the rapid rollout of vaccines will dramatically break the link between new infections, hospitalizations and deaths. So far, evidence suggests that a large proportion of people who become infected are in the younger age group, many of whom have not yet received the first dose.

As part of the government’s plan to end lockdown measures, social distancing restrictions are set to be lifted on June 21, which will be a special boon for businesses such as pubs and cinemas. They are currently working with capacity limits to meet the need to isolate people.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to announce on Monday whether there will be further relaxations.

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Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage:

https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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