Bank of England cuts key interest rate to 0.25%

People wearing face masks stand in Piccadilly Circus, London, Saturday, March 7, 2020. A man in his early 80s has become the second person to die in the UK after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Bank of England has cut its key interest rate by 0.5 % to 0.25%, as an emergency measure in response to the outbreak of COVID-19.

The central bank said the move would “help support businesses and consumer confidence at a difficult time.”

It said the effect of the new coronavirus on the British economy could be significant, with activity likely to “weaken materially” in the coming months.

The U.K. government is due to announce more measures to support the economy in a budget later Wednesday. Britain has confirmed 373 cases of COVID-19, and six deaths.

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