Nursing home residents in England can spend time with loved ones on “low-risk” visits without having to self-isolate upon return, the government said after threats of legal action.
Starting Tuesday, residents who leave home to go for a walk or visit a loved one’s garden will no longer have to isolate for two weeks upon their return.
Those departing for medical appointments and overnight visits are still required to self-isolate for 14 days, according to the PA news agency.
The Department of Health and Welfare (DHSC) lifted the requirement for low risk outdoor visits after the charity threatened John’s campaign with legal action.
Activists said the rule encourages nursing homes to act illegally by “falsely detaining” residents, what family members describe as “barbaric”.
As part of the changes, residents will need to be accompanied by either a staff member or one of their two nominated visitors during visits and track social distancing throughout.
They cannot meet in groups or go indoors – except to use toilets – and public transport should be avoided whenever possible.
It is assumed that a resident can eat outside in a restaurant or cafe with their caregivers or a nominated visitor if they agree to do so in advance with the care home.
Residents can also vote in person in the upcoming local elections without having to isolate themselves for 14 days afterwards.
The DHSC is expected to review the self-isolation requirement for further visits when it reaches the next stage of the government’s roadmap on May 17.
New data shows that 95% of elderly residents received one vaccine dose and 71% received two.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We know how difficult this time was for nursing home residents and I am delighted that they can now leave their homes to reunite with their loved ones outdoors.
“As the data continues to go in the right direction and the restrictions wear off, my priority is to increase the number of visits for residents in the coming weeks in a safe and controlled manner.”
The DHSC said updated guidelines will be released in due course.
John’s campaign co-founder Julia Jones said the rule change didn’t go far enough, saying it was “massively inadequate” for the isolation requirement for those who see the doctor to remain in place.
When asked if she would celebrate the move, she told BBC Radio 4’s Today program, “I’ll wait until we see the guide.
“I still have trouble seeing what legal law the government believes is possible to prevent people of full mental capacity from walking out of their homes like any other member of the population. I am struggling to see why they should be monitored. “
Tessa Gregory, Leigh Day partner who represents John’s campaign, said a lawsuit would be launched next week.
She said, “This is good news, but as always, the devil will be in the details and John’s campaign will review the new guidelines after they are published to make sure they are legal and fit for purpose.”
Elsewhere, the Ministry of Transport has missed a deadline set by MPs for classifying countries under the new traffic light system for international travel.
Many people are eager to find out which countries are on the green list to avoid the need to self-isolate as the overseas holiday travel ban for people in England is lifted from May 17th as part of the next coronavirus restrictions easing shall be .
The Commons’ Transport Select Committee released a report last week stating that the green, amber and red destination lists must be released by Saturday at the latest. However, the government said the lists will be released in early May.
Tory MP Huw Merriman, chairman of the committee, said country categorization is “the bare minimum” the travel industry and consumers need to prepare for May 17.
Meanwhile, celebrities Sir Lenny Henry, Liz Hurley and David Walliams have joined television actors Lydia West and Navin Chowdhry to encourage people to get vaccinated.
The stars pretend to be auditioning while battling misinformation about Covid vaccines.
Ms. Hurley urges people to “roll up their sleeves, it is not just your own life that you are going to save,” while Sir Lenny says, “People in the black, Asian, ethnic and minority communities are 20% less likely to take this on vaccine. “
According to NHS England, more than nine out of ten people over 45 have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, while 120,000 appointments were booked before 9 a.m. on Friday as the vaccines were opened to people aged 40 and 41.
The government said an additional 15 people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 on Friday, bringing the total in the UK to 127,517 while a further 2,381 cases were confirmed, bringing the total to 4,416,623.