ANKARA

Britain’s GDP fell 5.8% in March, the largest monthly decline since 1997, reflecting record falls in services and construction output, according to official data released Wednesday.

Data released by the country’s Office for National Statistics showed the economy experienced a significant shock since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

The output of services and production sectors fell 6.2% and 4.2%, respectively, in March 2020.

The largest driver in the record fall in the services sector “was wholesale, retail and motor trades followed by accommodation and food services, and education,” according to the authority.

British GDP fell 2.0% in the first quarter – January to March – of 2020.

The statistics authority said the decline was a result of the “direct effects” of the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s efforts to stem its spread.

It cited restrictions on movement in the UK, which started on March 23, as the “most significant measure.”

“During the global financial crisis, from the peak in February 2008 to lowest point of March 2009, a total of 13 months, GDP contracted 6.9%,” the office said.

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