Covid test: Elderly can leave care homes this Christmas – if family get tested
ELDERLY relatives will be able to leave care homes to join their family for Christmas as long as everyone has had a test, The Sun has learnt.
In a major boost for the UK’s half million care home residents, Boris Johnson’s “festive bubbles” to be unveiled this week will include provisions for grandparents to leave residential care and join a family household.
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A care home resident will be able to join a single household bubble this Christmas.[/caption]
Plans have been drawn up for a single care home resident to be allowed to join a single household over Christmas if everyone in that household has tested negative for Covid-19.
Many elderly residents have been isolated from their families for months after care homes were hit hard by the virus.
Those that are able to, and choose to visit their families or friends, will have to be tested or isolate when they return from that bubble to their care home after their festive break.
Matt Hancock has already vowed to ring-fence rapid Covid swabs so families can visit their relatives in care homes if they want to.
A pilot in 20 homes which started last week will end the need for pods and ‘prison-style’ plastic screens.
Key visitors will be tested weekly at locations across Hampshire, Cornwall and Devon.
It means they will finally be able to hug and hold hands with their relatives if they test negative beforehand.
But the new rules will mean they can come to stay in the homes of their families if they want to as well.
The welcome news for the elderly is part of the Christmas deal hammered out between Westminster and the Devolved Administrations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales at the weekend.
It comes after several high profile cases of people being arrested for trying to take their relatives out of their care homes.
Ylenia Angeli, 73, had not been able to see mum Tina Thornborough for nine months before she “sprung” her from the home in Market Weighton, Yorkshire.
ex-Coronation Street actress daughter filmed the moment Ylenia was arrested at a garden centre after wheeling her mum, who has dementia, from the care home before lockdown.
Leandra Ashton, 41, who played Saskia Larson on the ITV soap in 2016, filmed the harrowing ordeal as her gran sat helplessly in the family car.
Humberside Police said they responded to reports of an assault and Ylenia was subsequently “de-arrested”.
FOUR NATION PLAN
The united “four nations” approach for Christmas was agreed with principle by Michael Gove and regional counterparts on Saturday, with the PM expected to outline the full details later in the week.
But The Sun revealed last week rules will be relaxed for five days from Christmas Eve until the delayed Boxing Day Bank Holiday on 28 December.
Yesterday Mr Gove announced there would be “limited additional household bubbling for a small number days” with a cap of three households coming together expected.
Households will be able to come together for a turkey dinner indoors amid fears Brits would simply ignore the rules.
The ban on household mixing in Tier 2 and 3 of Covid restrictions is to be lifted and the rule of six is set to be suspended in Tier 1 to allow bigger groups to celebrate festive season.
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The Cabinet Office said there had been “good progress made by all administrations over the past few days to design a single set of arrangements that can apply across the UK.”
“Ministers reiterated the importance of allowing families and friends to meet in a careful and limited way, while recognising that this will not be a normal festive period and the risks of transmission remain very real.”