Covid: Care home visits may resume from 13 March

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media captionLynn Parker was last able to hold her husband's hand 10 months before he died

Care home visits could resume in Wales from 13 March, ministers have said.

Deputy health minister Julie Morgan said they were considering allowing a single, designated visitor per resident as part of a package of measures.

She said the Welsh Government had been working with local authorities, Public Health Wales and care home representatives to examine the matter.

The Welsh Government's ban on care home visits has come under fire in recent weeks.

Ms Morgan said: "My intention is that we should be able to announce that routine indoor visiting by a single, designated visitor will be able to resume from 13 March, as part of the package of wider measures being considered for the three-week review."

Under Scottish government guidelines, care home residents can pick two visitors who can each attend inside once a week.

Care home residents in England will be allowed one regular visitor from 8 March.

image captionCare home visits could be allowed by 13 March, Julie Morgan said

Ms Morgan said she was aware restrictions had "caused distress for residents and their families and they have affected people's wellbeing".

She said care homes had "strived" to maintain contact between residents and families.

"This has not been easy and I applaud their hard work and innovation," she said.

"To help care homes support visiting and social contact between residents and relatives, we will be working with Age Cymru to pilot an approach to the development of volunteering in care homes."

image captionMario Kreft said care homes were working on safety measures for allowing visits

Mario Kreft, chair of Care Forum Wales, welcomed the news but warned not all care homes would be able to allow visits by 13 March due to the amount of preparation needed.

"What we will see in a week or two is care homes being able to offer safe visiting in a limited way, and I think go through Easter and beyond we will hopefully get back to some sort of normality," he said.

He added: "It takes one positive result from a care home to close that home for up to 20 days, this is very encouraging news but we are not out of the woods yet.

"It's really tough on people, everyone wants to open the sector up but at the moment we are still at that critical stage where we cant take our eye off the ball at the moment."

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