United Kingdom’s economy rebounded by a record 7.5% last year on easing COVID-19 curbs, staging a partial recovery from a pandemic-driven historic collapse, official data showed Friday.
Gross domestic product (GDP) had tumbled by 9.4% in 2020 due to the initial impact of the pandemic and public health restrictions, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) added in a statement.
The U.K. economy increased by 1% in the fourth quarter despite the emergence of the omicron COVID-19 variant, matching its expansion in the third quarter, the ONS also revealed in a statement.
GDP, however, dipped 0.2% in December on fallout from the rapid spread of omicron.
"GDP fell back slightly in December as the Omicron wave hit, with retail and hospitality seeing the biggest impacts," ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said.
"However, these were partially offset by increases in the Test and Trace service and vaccination programs."
Activity held at its pre-pandemic level in February due to increased health sector activity.
"Despite December's setback, GDP grew robustly across the fourth quarter as a whole with the NHS (National Health Service), couriers and employment agencies all helping to support the economy," Morgan added.
"Overall, GDP in December was in line with its level in February 2020, before C-19 struck, while in the fourth quarter as a whole, it was slightly below that of quarter four in 2019."
British finance minister Rishi Sunak welcomed news of the country's partial recovery from the emergency health crisis.
"The economy has been remarkably resilient," he said in a statement, noting it was boosted by the government's vast stimulus measures.