Care home residents will be allowed one visitor indoors from 8 March as part of the easing of lockdown restrictions.
The move, which covers England, follows a plea last week by sector organisations for care home visits to resume.
Single visitors will need to be named by the resident, required to take a test before entry, wear PPE on site and avoid close contact. They will be allowed to make repeat visits under carefully designed conditions, the government has said.
Visits outdoors, in pods or behind screens will be able to continue in line with guidance which has been in place during lockdown, allowing residents to see more than just one person.
‘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,’ said health and social care secretary Matt Hancock.
‘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.’
On Saturday (20 February), the Scottish government announced care home visits would resume at the beginning of March with two ‘designated’ visitors.