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Care home residents can receive unlimited visitors from Monday as restrictions to tackle the Omicron variant of coronavirus are eased, the Department of Health has said.

Self-isolation periods will also be reduced from 14 days to 10 for those who test positive, with further reductions if they test negative on days five and six.

And there will be changes to the testing regime for care workers from February 16, with pre-shift lateral flow tests replacing the current system involving weekly asymptomatic PCR tests.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I know how vital companionship is to those living in care homes and the positive difference visits make, which is why we continued to allow three named visitors and an essential care giver under Plan B measures.

“Thanks to the progress we have made, I am delighted that care home restrictions can now be eased further allowing residents to see more of their loved ones.”

 Changes to testing and isolation requirements for those receiving care include:

  1. Self-isolation periods reduced from fourteen to ten days for those who test positive, with further reductions if they test negative on days five and six.

  2. Isolation periods for those in care following an emergency hospital visit will be reduced from 14 to a maximum ten days, in line with the NHS and following the latest advice from SAGE.

  3. Removing testing or self-isolation requirements following normal visits out.

Minister for Care Gillian Keegan said: “Thanks to the continued success of the vaccine rollout, I am delighted we can ease restrictions in care settings and allow unlimited visits to ensure people living in care homes see all their family and friends.

“The changes announced today are backed by scientists, ensuring we all have more freedoms from coronavirus, including care home residents and their families.”

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