LONDON (Reuters) – Nursing home residents in England will be allowed a regular visitor from March 8, the government said as it underscores measures to lock down COVID-19 through the introduction of vaccines to the elderly and clinically vulnerable be relieved.
Elderly people living in nursing homes have been offered the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as part of a program that has seen nearly 17 million shots fired to date.
The number of infections in the UK has also fallen from a peak at the beginning of the year, although it remains high, the government said on Saturday.
Any resident of a nursing home can name a visitor who has to perform a COVID-19 test beforehand, wear personal protective equipment during the visit and avoid close contact beyond holding hands.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the move would allow people to be carefully and safely reunited with loved ones.
“This is just the first step in getting back to where we want to be,” he said.
“We have to make sure that we keep the infection rate low so that we can gradually make a larger visit in the future.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will point the UK out of lockdown on Monday. The steps will be cautious and irreversible, although schools are also likely to reopen on March 8th.
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