The U.K. economy contracted by 9.9% in 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged economic activity.
In the final quarter of the year, gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 1%, according to the Office for National Statistics, as the country re-imposed nationwide lockdown measures in a bid to combat a resurgence of Covid-19 cases.
Economists polled by Refinitiv had expected an 8% annual decline, with a fourth-quarter expansion of 0.5%. This follows a revised 16.1% rebound in the third quarter as social, travel and business restrictions were eased.
As of Friday morning, the U.K. has recorded more than 4 million cases and 115,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The U.K. has been blighted by new and more transmissible variants of the virus in recent months.
England remains in a nationwide lockdown with no clear end date, although British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on Wednesday that around one in four adults, approximately 13 million people, have now received the first dose of a Covid vaccine.