Ruth Maguire MSP has welcomed guidance published by the Scottish Government that will enable care home residents to receive visitors outdoors.
The change in lockdown guidance comes into effect from 3 July on the condition that care homes meet strict criteria and keep infection control measures in place.
A care home will only be able to permit visiting or relax arrangements for communal activities if they have been COVID-free throughout the pandemic or if all affected residents have fully recovered and no residents have had symptoms for 28 days.
This will build up to a fourth and final phase of reintroduction which will include controlled indoor visits and wider use of communal areas by residents, with appropriate measures still being observed.
The new phase of visiting will will include outdoor meetings with one nominated visitor, and face coverings must be worn for the visit’s duration. Currently, only essential visits, including those involving end of life care are permitted.
The SNP MSP said: “This update in guidance will be welcome news to local residents who have been unable to visit a relative currently living in a care home. It will equally be a comfort to care home residents who will have been feeling isolated during this time.
“Providing that we continue to make progress in containing the coronavirus pandemic, greater visiting access will be possible sooner rather than later.”
The 28 day period represents twice the extreme incubation period for coronavirus (COVID-19) and given the asymptomatic carriage is the safest estimate of when a home could be declared outbreak free. This is based on public health advice.