COVID-19: Govt scraps ‘barbaric’ self-isolation rule for care home residents after threat of legal action | UK News

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Care home residents will be able to leave for “low risk” visits without self-isolating for 14 days on their return.

The change comes after the government was threatened with legal action – with family members claiming that existing rules were “barbaric”.

From Tuesday, residents will be able to leave their care home for a walk, or visit a loved one’s garden, and not face any restrictions when they get back.

However, they must follow social distancing and be accompanied by a member of staff throughout – or one of the two people who are their nominated visitors.

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They won’t be allowed to meet in groups, and can only go indoors for the use of toilets, or to cast a vote in the upcoming local elections.

Residents may also be able to eat outside at a restaurant with their care worker or a nominated visitor if this has been agreed with the care home in advance.

Some rules remain unchanged. Those attending medical appointments and going for overnight visits will still be subject to a 14-day isolation period.

John’s Campaign had been threatening to issue the legal proceedings next week unless the blanket requirements were dropped.

Co-founder Nicci Gerrard said: “Why did this rule ever exist in the first place – depriving people of their liberty, turning care homes into prison, treating one group of people with such cruelty.”

Fellow co-founder Julia Jones added: “It should never have been considered permissible to confine adult members of society, without their consent (or those who speak for them) merely because their address happens to be that of a care home.”

New data suggests 95% of elderly residents have received one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, while 71% have received two.

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‘Third wave might just be an upsurge’

The Department of Health and Social Care has said the self-isolation requirements that remain in place for care home residents will be reviewed again when the next stage of the government’s roadmap is reached on 17 May.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “With the data continuing to head in the right direction and as restrictions ease, it is my priority to keep increasing visits for residents in the coming weeks in a safe and controlled way.”

And care minister Helen Whately added: “I know this has been long-awaited for those who haven’t had a chance to enjoy trips out. I look forward to encouraging more visiting and trips out in future as we turn the tide on this cruel virus.”

According to NHS England, more than nine in 10 people over the age of 45 have now received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine – with 120,000 appointments booked before 9am on Friday as vaccines opened up to those aged 40 and 41.

A further 15 deaths from coronavirus were announced in the UK on Friday, taking the total to 127,517 – with 2,381 new cases confirmed.