UK’s Indian-origin finance minister Rishi Sunak on Tuesday said that the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis would be “significant, but temporary”, exuding confidence that Britain’s economy will bounce back “quickly and strongly” once the coronavirus pandemic is brought under control.
The UK Chancellor led the daily Downing Street briefing soon after the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR), Britain independent spending watchdog, released its forecast that the crisis-hit economy would shrink by a record 35 per cent as a result of the lockdown.
Sunak, the son-in-law of Infosys chief Narayana Murthy, said the forecast was only one possible scenario, but it is still important that the government is honest with people about what is happening with the economy.
“These are tough times, and there will be more to come. This is going to be hard, our economy’s going to take a significant hit and as I’ve said before that’s not an abstract thing, people are going to feel that in their jobs and in their household incomes,” said the minister.
“But I think the measures we’ve put in place will help and then as we get through this it will mean that we can recover quickly and strongly and get our lives and economy back to normal,” he said.
Besides the economy, the Cabinet minister gave the latest health update and revealed a daily rise of 778 to the country’s COVID-19 death toll, taking the total to 12,107.
Sunak said the figures were a daily reminder about the importance of the British public continuing to comply with the government’s strict social distancing measures in place.
The number of people who have died in hospital in Britain from the coronavirus rose to 12,107, according to health ministry figures published on Tuesday.
Earlier on Monday, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that the government does not expect to make changes to coronavirus lockdown restrictions this week,
Earlier, PM Johnson was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital on the advice of his doctor, after continuing to have a cough and high temperature 10 days after testing positive for the virus.
Johnson was back on his feet by Friday, taking short walks between periods of rest, in what his office described as the early stage of recovery.
Confirmed coronavirus infections worldwide have neared 2 million, with more than 1.2 lakh deaths.
As the world tries to contain the spread, Spain and Austria have allowed partial returns to work, while Britain, France, India, and Pakistan extended lockdowns to rein in the new coronavirus.