Care homes ordered to go into immediate lockdown after spike in coronavirus cases

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The move comes just weeks after families were allowed back into care homes to see their loved ones.

The care home sector, which struggled under the strain at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, is in chaos over the guidance.

Letters have been seen by ITV News from councils in Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and a number of others that state family visits must now be cancelled.

Last night, Newcastle was one of a number of councils telling care homes they should close their doors as a precaution.

The council wrote in a letter: “Due to the increase in infection rates we are now asking that homes temporarily suspend non-essential visits to support infection prevention and control”.

Gateshead Council said in its letter: “We’re afraid that we must advise that the local situation has changed, and in the past week our case rate has climbed from 6.4/100k to over 30/100k, so we now ask that you suspend visiting to protect residents.”

In July, bthe Government announced it was allowing visits to loved ones in care homes.

This was dependent on the same family member visiting each time and agreeing to wear the necessary PPE.

But ITV News has seen an email sent by Gateshead Council to one care home to state that even outdoor visits are now not even allowed.

This read: “The Director of Public Health has written out to all homes to ban all visits apart from End of Life so these need to stop now.

“Can you please let the home managers know and cancel visits ASAP.”

Correspondence has also been sent by several other councils, which have advised non-essential visits must now end.

Care home visits have already been banned in parts of the country where local lockdowns have been imposed because of rising coronavirus infection rates.

But this now becomes the first time other parts of England have re-introduced the strict restrictions on care homes.

This is a breaking story. More to follow…

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