Care home residents will be allowed a second regular indoor visitor from 12 April, the government has announced, while babies and young children can also attend.
Infants and children are not counted as one of the two visitors, meaning residents will be allowed to see small bubbles of relatives or friends for the first time in months.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that the drop in community infection and rapid vaccine rollout means the increase in visitor numbers can go ahead as set out in the government’s road map out of lockdown.
The DHSC said visitors would be allowed to hold hands but that personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn. A negative rapid lateral flow test will also be required from adult visitors before entry is permitted, but some will be allowed to conduct their tests at home so more visits can take place.
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.”