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The Government is considering plans to allow indoor visits to care homes, as part of its programme for the easing of lockdown restrictions. Under new guidelines being drawn up, visitors will be required to take a coronavirus lateral flow test. They will also have to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and will not be allowed to hug or kiss.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was “pleased” that care home residents would soon be “carefully and safely reunited with loved ones.”
The Prime Minister’s ambitious targets for vaccinations has seen all care home residents, along with social care and NHS staff receive their Covid inoculations.
This has opened the way for families to be reunited with their elderly loved ones, who have been confined to care homes.
The Department of Health said the relaxation of the restrictions represented a balance between the risk of infection and the importance of mental health of care home residents.
However, if coronavirus cases should rise again, then the Government will not hesitate to reintroduce restrictions.
Mr Hancock told The Sun: “I know how important visiting a loved one is and I’m pleased we will soon be in a position for people to be carefully and safely reunited with loved ones who live in care homes.
“This is just the first step to getting back to where we want to be. We need to make sure we keep the infection rate down, to allow greater visiting in a step by step way in the future.”
Outdoor visits will continue, allowing residents to see more than just their nominated visitor.
The new measures have been welcomed by various organisations and charities that look after the elderly.
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Caroline Abrahams, a director of Age UK, told The Sun: “It makes sense for the first step to be to allow ‘essential care giving visitors’ back into care homes because these individuals are so crucial to the health and wellbeing of the residents they support.
“In their absence we know that some older people have stopped eating and drinking, despite the best efforts of staff to take their place.
“Sometimes, only the person you love most in the world will do and it’s to the Government’s credit that they have recognised this.”
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