Covid-19: Care home residents to be allowed one regular visitor
Communities / Sat 20th Feb 2021 at 09:58am
CARE home residents in England will be allowed to pick one person to visit them regularly from 8 March, in the first confirmed easing of lockdown since its reintroduction last month reports the BBC.
They will be able to meet indoors and hold hands – but visitors must wear PPE and be tested before entering the home.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the rule change was a “first step to getting back to where we want to be”.
PM Boris Johnson will reveal his road map for easing lockdown on Monday.
Mr Johnson is spending the weekend finalising those plans. New data is expected to suggest vaccines have cut transmission rates.
But the latest NHS England data shows that three in 10 care home staff have not received their first coronavirus vaccine, despite being in the top four priority groups for a jab.
Every care home resident in the UK has now been offered their first vaccination.
In addition to the new rule for care homes, outdoor visits – as well as those inside pods or behind screens – will be able to continue.
The government said the new measure, which follows advice from the deputy chief medical officers and Public Health England, is the next step towards normal indoor visits resuming.
Mr Hancock said he was pleased people would soon be “carefully and safely reunited with loved ones”.
“This is just the first step to getting back to where we want to be,” he said. “We need to make sure we keep the infection rate down, to allow greater visiting in a step-by-step way in the future.”
Liz Kendall, shadow minister for health and social care, said families had been calling for the resumption of care home visits – made safe with access to personal protective equipment and testing – for seven months.
“Over this period, ministers have repeatedly failed to grasp how important families are for the physical and mental health of care home residents, and the appalling impact preventing visits has caused,” she said.