The UK economy went into recession in the second quarter as domestic product (GDP) contracted for the second quarter in a row. In the period from April to June, GDP contracted by 20.4 percent, according to figures published by the British national statistics office on Wednesday.

This is a record contraction in the quarter in which the country was largely in lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In June, when measures were relaxed, there were again signs of recovery. In that month the British economy grew by 8.7 percent compared to May.

"The recession triggered by the corona crisis is the largest quarterly GDP decline ever recorded," said Jonathan Athow of the UK National Bureau of Statistics.

While there were signs of recovery again in June, GDP was only one-sixth of February's levels (before the COVID-19 pandemic).

British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said in a response that the figures confirm that the United Kingdom is in dire economic weather. "Hundreds of thousands of people have already lost their jobs and sadly this will happen to many more people in the coming months."