Economic growth fell by 2.6% in November, the month of the second lockdown, compared with falls of 7.3% in March and 18.8% in April. The pandemic has achieved what has eluded recent governments, in rebalancing the economy away from services. Since February:
— Services have contracted 9.9%
— Manufacturing has fallen 4.9%
— Construction is up 0.6%
The most affected sectors of the service economy were:
— Hair and beauty: 24.4% of businesses reported zero turnover
— Pubs: 27.4% reported zero turnover
A team of Sherpas made the first winter ascent of K2, the world’s second-highest mountain. Are there any mountains left to climb?
— Gangkhar Puensum, a 24,836ft peak in Bhutan, remains unclimbed. Bhutan banned attempts to reach its summit in 1994, for religious reasons.
— Muchu Chhish, a 24,591ft peak in Pakistan, defied attempts in 1999 and 2014.
— Karjiang I, a 23,691ft peak in Tibet, was the subject of an unsuccessful attempt in 2001.
— Mount Kailash, a 21,778ft peak in Tibet, was nearly climbed by a British expedition in 1928. Reinhold Messner was invited to climb it in the 1980s but declined. A permit for a Spanish team was refused in 2001.
Life’s a beach
The Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, suggested it was too early to book a holiday. What percentage of the UK population take holidays (figures for 2018)?
UK and abroad 43%
UK only 26%
Abroad only 17%
No holiday 14%
Shots in the dark
Israel has vaccinated a higher percentage of its population against Covid than any other country. But have cases yet fallen?
— By 3 January, it had vaccinated 11.5% of its population (22.3% by 15 January).
— In trials, the Pfizer vaccine was found to offer good immunity after ten to 14 days.
— In the week to 10 January, 52,450 new infections of Covid-19 were reported.
— In the week to 17 January, this climbed to 57,011. 14 January saw the second-highest number of infections yet recorded in the world in the pandemic.
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