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The United Kingdom is grappling through a ton of issues at this moment. On one hand, it is battling the COVID-19 outbreak which has now hit the country’s PM Boris Johnson. On the other hand, the country’s economic situation is getting from bad to worse.
The United Kingdom is one of the most infected nations with nearly 50,000 cases of coronavirus and 5000 deaths reported. Ten days after the British PM Boris Johnson first contracted the coronavirus, he has now been admitted to the hospital after having persistent symptoms, as a “precautionary step”.
Aged 55, Johnson is the first global leader to have contracted the disease. Before admitting to the hospital, the PM had self-quarantined himself in his flat next door to 10 Downing Street. A Downing Street spokesperson said:
“The Prime Minister thanks NHS staff for all of their incredible hard work and urges the public to continue to follow the Government’s advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives”.
Johnson still continues to hold the charge of his government and stays in contact with the officials. Just in case of incapacitation, the government has a succession plan where the first secretary of state — 46-year-old Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab — will take the charge.
Besides, following Johnson’s hospitalizations, Queen Elizabeth II also addressed the nation. She said:
“I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time. A time of disruption in the life of our country: a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all.”
The British PM who had been contemplating earlier has finally announced a lockdown on March 20. Even Johnson’s 32-year pregnant fiancee, Carrie Symonds had symptoms of the virus.
Being pregnant with Covid-19 is obviously worrying. To other pregnant women, please do read and follow the most up to date guidance which I found to be v reassuring: https://t.co/JPvIDeB3l6
— Carrie Symonds (@carriesymonds) April 4, 2020
The U.S. President Donald Trump has extended his well-wishes to the British PM. In a press briefing, he said:
‘I want to express our nation’s wellwishes to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he wages his own personal fight with the virus. ‘All Americans are praying for him, he’s friend of mine and a great gentleman and a great leader. He was brought to hospital today but I’m hopeful and sure that he’ll be fine, he’s a strong person.’
UK’s Economy Faces Serious Challenges Ahead
The UK was coming over its long-pending Brexit issue. The coronavirus has given another economic shock to the country. Economists from Nomura warn that UK’s economy can shrink by 7.5% in 2020. This could also be the most severe hit to the country’s economy in a century after World War 1.
George Buckley, the UK economist at Nomura thinks that the 2020 crash could be far worse than the 2008 financial crisis. Mr. Buckley said:
“This will be the worst year for GDP for just shy of a century. The worst data we’ve seen since the depression of 1921 was during the final stages of the Second World War, when GDP fell by 4.6 per cent.”
“I’ve never seen anything like this. The shock waves now are much larger and faster. This is going to have a seismic impact on employment and we need to make sure it is not catastrophic”, said Reed chairman James Reed.