MP Kevin Foster: We all need to continue doing our bit

Why not donate food items to the local food bank in the basket at the back of the tills in your loca

Shop local this Christmas - and make sure you wear a mask while doing so - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Since the news Covid-19 had arrived in our Bay back in March 2020, our whole community has worked together to tackle the biggest threat to face us since the darkest days of the 1940s.

From thousands stepping forward to answer the call for volunteers last year, to people staying home and respecting the requests to avoid social contact, including at difficult times to do so such as on Mother’s Day and over Christmas last year. 

The news over the last week about the new Omicron variant will inevitably cause some concerns.

At the time of writing, the exact impact of the new variant is still being determined, not least its impact in terms of whether it is more likely to cause serious illness, yet there are initial signs it may be able to spread more rapidly than others and to those who are double jabbed.  

Vaccinations have offered good protection against serious illness in other variants which emerged but given the situation, plus the risk more widely if it does turn out to be more threatening, precautions are being taken until the clinical situation becomes clearer.

This means wearing a face covering in shops and on all forms of public transport is now mandatory unless you are medically exempt, rules on international travel have been tightened and those in close contact with someone who has the Omicron variant will need to self-isolate regardless of their vaccination status. 

We all need to continue doing our bit, not least with a view to supporting our Bay’s many tourism and retail businesses who worked hard to implement the measures needed to contain Covid-19.

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As good way to do so is if doing your Christmas shopping this week, do think of buying from some of our many independent traders across the Bay, especially on Small Business Saturday which takes place this weekend.  

Virginity testing 

Amid all the political arguments last week there was a welcome moment of political unity as an amendment which will ban so-called virginity testing, was passed unanimously by MPs. 

The tests, often taken under duress, cannot prove whether a woman has had sex or not, as the hymen can be broken in other ways, such as through tampon use or exercise.

In many cases the requirement to undergo the procedure is simply used to demean the woman concerned as it includes an intrusive vaginal examination. 

In future anyone aiding, offering or undertaking the tests could face up to five years in prison. Those subjected to such tests will be regarded as victims. 

I was pleased to support this move to outlaw a practice based on attitudes which belong in the past. 

Surgery times 

My next surgeries are: Saturday, December 4, 10am to midday at St Martin’s Church, Barton Hill Road, Torquay TQ2 8JA and Friday, December 10, 3pm to 5pm at The Windmill Centre, Pendennis Road, Torquay TQ2 7QR.

Sadly, my surgeries must remain appointment only at this stage given the prevailing public health guidance. 

For an appointment you can either email me at kevin@kevinjfoster.com or leave a message on 01803 214989.

You can also drop into my office at 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD between 10am and 1pm Monday to Friday.

Please note you may have to wait outside if others attend at the same time.