This is good news for those who have waited patiently to visit their loved ones. However, protective equipment is still needed and not everyone will be able to visit before Christmas. Hugging will be allowed as long as the visitor is wearing masks, gloves, and gowns to stop the spread of infection.
The Cabinet Office said at the weekend that quick coronavirus tests could allow “visitors to have physical contact with their loved one".
The announcement added that this could involve close proximity such as "providing personal care and holding hands”.
For visiting care homes, those that wish to see their loved ones must book in advance to arrange a visit.
However, they will only be allowed if it is found that they have tested negative that day.
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These tests will be carried out on site.
The larges firm that represents care homes in England, Care England, announced on Tuesday, “it will be a while until testing is entrenched”.
This means that visits could still only be possible “as part of a raft of other infection control measures”.
Residents of care homes have been confined to their residential buildings for most of the year since the first lockdown, as they are one of the most vulnerable groups for susceptibility to coronavirus.
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Government ministers have yet to allow elderly residents of care homes, those over the age of 65, to leave the premises.
More to follow...
The Department of Health announcement on visiting care homes said: "If a visitor has a negative test, is wearing appropriate PPE, and following other infection control measures then it may be possible for visitors to have physical contact with their loved one.
"This would be contact such as providing personal care, holding hands, and a hug.'
The Government body still warned that the visits, especially those with physical contact, will increase the risk of spreading coronavirus.
Many aspects of how visits will be organised will be left to the discretion of individual care homes.