Care home residents to be allowed two visitors from April 12
- Credit: Kingsley Healthcare
Care home residents will be allowed a second regular indoor visitor from April 12, the Government has announced.
People in care homes can have just one face-to-face visitor, but as part of the next step of lockdown easing it will be extended to two.
Visitors will also be able to bring babies and young children with them, meaning some elderly relatives could meet grandchildren for the first time.
They will be able to hold hands but must wear PPE while a negative rapid lateral flow test will also be required from adult visitors before entry is permitted.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that the drop in community infection and vaccine rollout means the increase in visitor numbers can go ahead as set out in the road map out of lockdown.
Earlier this month some Norfolk couples were able to hold their loved one's hands for the first time in a year.
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Under the first phase of lockdown easing restrictions, every care home resident was able to nominate one visitor for regular visits.
The first easing from April 12 will allow people to see small bubbles of loved ones for the first time in months with infants and children are not counted as one of the two visitors.
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However, the age of young children included has yet to be announced. The government said full guidance will be published next week.
Prime minister Boris Johnson said: "Reuniting family and friends has been a priority each time restrictions have eased, and the next step will be no different.
"I'm particularly pleased to allow residents to have more visitors, including grandchildren, given the isolation and concern felt by so many this past year.
"Thanks to the tireless work of care home staff, and the success of the vaccine rollout, we're able to increase the number of visits in a safe and controlled way."
More than £340m of government funding has been earmarked to extend rapid testing to care homes and free PPE until March 2022.