UK to Allow Some Care Home Visits in England as Lockdown Eased

February 20, 2021 Updated: February 20, 2021

The British government announced on Saturday that it is loosening restrictions on care home visits in England as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap to ease COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

For months, care home residents have only been able to see loved ones outdoors or through screens.

But from March 8, they will be able to be visited indoors by a single, named individual, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said in a statement.

“Every resident will have the opportunity to name one individual, who will be required to have a test beforehand, wear PPE during the visit, and avoid close contact,” said the DHSC.

Visitors will be allowed to hold hands indoors with their relative in a care home, but will be asked to avoid any closer contact.

Britain’s Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I know how important visiting a loved one is and I’m pleased we will soon be in a position for people to be carefully and safely reunited with loved ones who live in care homes.”

“This is just the first step to getting back to where we want to be. We need to make sure we keep the infection rate down, to allow greater visiting in a step-by-step way in the future,” he said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is due to reveal his plan for exiting lockdown on Feb. 22, has come under pressure from lawmakers and businesses to set clear dates for the lifting of CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus restrictions following the biggest vaccine rollout in British history.

Nearly 17 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, official figures show.

The COVID Recovery Group (CRG), a group of Tory MPs who are sceptical about lockdown measures, said that they welcomed “the tremendous pace of the vaccination rollout” and that the restrictions will no longer be justified once the high-risk groups have been protected by vaccines.

In a letter to the prime minister on Feb. 13, they demanded that schools must be reopened to all pupils on March 8 and all COVID-19 restrictions must be lifted by the end of April.

But Johnson has refused to set firm dates for easing COVID-19 lockdown measures, arguing instead that a “cautious but irreversible” plan would be preferable.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.