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Rutland MP Alicia Kearns discusses vaccination effort in light of Omicron variant



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It’s no secret that the UK’s vaccination effort has been astonishing, and the booster programme is the second fastest in the world, just behind Israel, writes Rutland MP Alicia Kearns. But being out and about in Rutland the last few days, it’s clear many people are concerned about the emergence of the new Omicron variant. The Government has acted quickly to stop Omicron from taking root in the UK – with new travel restrictions, travel isolation rules and masks re-introduced on public transport and in shops, but not in hospitality. These are precautions rather than restrictions – and let’s hope that it buys our amazing scientists the time to understand this new strain. It’s right that we put in place some immediate precautions, to give us time to understand this variant and determine what threat it poses. The most important thing we can all do is get our booster jabs once we are eligible, and continue to do tests as often as you can, so that if the variant spreads, we know where it is.

I’d like to say a big thank you to all the Rutland Vaccination Centre volunteers, Rutland Lions and of course our local clinicians for their fantastic work over the past year - and the effort in Rutland has been truly astonishing. I know that they will continue to do a phenomenal job with the booster programme as the Government expands it.

Here in Rutland, we have a proud military tradition. I’ve always felt that our communities are enhanced enormously by the veterans who have made our county their home. I’m proud that last week it was announced that 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment will soon be moving to Cottesmore – joining their 2nd Battalion at Kendrew Barracks. 1st Royal Anglians recently distinguished themselves in Operation Pitting, the evacuation of Kabul that saw 15,000 Afghans saved from a terrible fate. I have no doubt at all we will all welcome them and their families with open arms.

Alicia Kearns MP
Alicia Kearns MP

In Rutland, our community spirit, and the deep connection between our land and our people was particularly evident last week, when I attended the 114th Uppingham Fatstock Show. Shows like this don’t just happen anymore, where a whole town square gains an agricultural heartbeat for the day. The show was rammed with people – not just judges and farmers, but people from all walks of life, wanting to see the livestock. To me, that is Rutland. Community spirit, with a real and important purpose.

I was fortunate to have the chance to open the Oakham Fairtrade Show at the Castle over the weekend – thankfully an indoor event in the weather – I know I hadn’t been expecting snow! The market had wonderful things on sale – all supporting the great cause that is Fair Trade, and I’m so pleased we have Fairtrade County status.

It was disappointing for many of us to see Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust take the decision to withdraw from holding the superb Birdfair at Rutland Water. Birdfair has been a boon to our economy – and has played an important role in promoting conservation. I don’t want to see it leave our county, and hope that the RSPB can find a way to keep Birdfair where it belongs.

On the subject of bringing people to Rutland, I hope that the exciting news of the discovery of a Roman villa containing the most beautiful mosaics of the Trojan War will also be a major draw to Rutland, just as Fishbourne is in Sussex. This find was simply incredible, and I can’t wait to see it. I’m working hard to improve our tourism offer and support our local economy – watch this space. Our county’s motto, Much in Little, has always been a truism, but right now, it feels like there really is so much in our county.

I hope you have a wonderful week.



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