The British pound fell sharply on Wednesday amid the COVID-19 crisis, hitting its lowest level against the U.S. dollar since 1985.
Sterling dropped to as low as 1.149 against U.S. dollar during the trading day, almost 5 percent lower than the previous closing.
The plunge for the pound came as Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak defended his package for mitigating the country’s economy against the pandemic.
According to the latest measures announced by Sunak, the British government will provide 330 billion pounds (382 billion U.S. dollars) of loans to businesses to support firms to get through the difficult moments.
The British currency has retreated about 10 percent so far in March, in the context of a related surge of the U.S. dollar amid a liquidity crunch.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday that all schools in the country will close from Friday after health authorities confirmed a death toll of 104 and a total of 2,626 infected cases of the novel coronavirus across the country.