Care home residents over 65 banned from spending Christmas with their families
Older care home residents are told not to spend Christmas with their families (Image: Getty Images)
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Care home residents over 65 will not be able to join their families for Christmas under the new rules.
People across the UK are being granted a festive reprieve from coronavirus restrictions, allowing three households to form a "Christmas bubble" together between December 23 and 27.
Families will be allowed to travel across the UK – regardless of the tier they live in – to spend the five-day period with loved ones.
Guidance is due to be published on how care home residents under 65 can safely spend Christmas with their families in England.
But older residents will be expected to stay in their care home due to the increased risk.
Care homes were hit hard by the virus in the early stages of the pandemic
(Image: Getty Images)
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The new rules state: "Spending time with others outside the care home will increase risk of exposure to coronavirus for the resident and the other residents in their home on their return, and is likely to place an additional burden on the care home.
"Given this, visits out of care homes should only be considered for care home residents of working age.
"Residents, their families and care homes should very carefully consider whether this is the right thing to do, or whether visiting at the care home would provide meaningful contact in a safer way."
Families who have younger care home residents to stay for Christmas should follow social distancing rules – meaning no hugs, lots of hand washing and ventilation inside where possible.
All members of the bubble should try to limit their social contacts for two weeks before and consider getting tested for Covid-19.
The resident should isolate and take a coronavirus test before returning to their care home.
The draconian rules are in place to prevent the virus spreading rapidly in care homes after Christmas – as it did earlier in the pandemic.
Care homes were devastated by outbreaks during the first lockdown, with some 20,000 deaths linked to the virus by July.
The news of a Christmas break in restrictions comes after Boris Johnson announced the national lockdown in England would be replaced by a new three-tier system on December 2.
The Prime Minister said the new Christmas plan would let families reunite across the UK, but warned people to make a "personal judgment" about the risk of who they form a bubble with or if they visit elderly relatives.
He said: "Wherever you are in the country I urge you to keep up the incredible effort that you and everyone else have been making to keep pushing the virus down.
"Of course all this means that this year Christmas will be different. Many of us are longing to spend time with family and friends irrespective of our faith or background. And yet we can't afford to throw caution to the wind.
"The virus doesn't know it's Christmas and we must all be careful."
He added: "I know this doesn't equate to a normal Christmas and it won't work for everyone and it is up to each of us to think carefully about how we use this special time-limited dispensation."