Nursing home residents will be allowed a second regular indoor visitor from April 12, the government has announced.
The Department of Health and Social Welfare (DHSC) said the decline in infections in the community and the rapid roll-out of vaccines means attendance levels may increase, as outlined in the government’s roadmap.
Infants and children are not counted as one of the two visitors, which means that for the first time in months, residents are allowed to see tiny blisters from relatives or friends again.
Visitors are allowed to hold hands, but personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn.
A negative rapid cross flow test is also required from adult visitors before entry is permitted. However, some are allowed to do their tests at home so more visits can take place.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Reuniting family and friends has been a priority every time restrictions have been eased and the next step will be no different.
“I’m particularly excited to bring more visitors, including grandchildren, to residents, given the isolation and concern so many have felt over the past year.
“Thanks to the tireless work of the nursing home staff and the success of the vaccine implementation, we can increase the number of visits in a safe and controlled manner.”
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Meanwhile, Boris Johnson will make an announcement on Monday April 5th to further ease lockdown restrictions.
He is expected to outline the next steps out of England’s lockdown – including topics such as international travel and Covid passports.
His briefing will take a week before a number of restrictions in the nation are lifted.
Unnecessary stores can reopen from April 12th. In his announcement on Monday, Mr Johnson is also expected to confirm whether pub beer gardens and hairdressers will also reopen that day.