Visiting family and friends in care homes

Care home residents in England will be able to receive visits during the national lockdown

after a last minute U-turn by the health secretary, Matt Hancock, who has bowed to pressure from residents, relatives and care operators and reversed a ban in areas of high infection.

When England goes into a month of new restrictions from midnight, care homes must allow residents to receive visits “in a Covid-secure way” using social distancing and protective equipment, new guidance will say.

The move came as Hancock admitted it has been “heartbreaking” for families not to see loved ones. Less than three weeks ago the government had said visiting should be stopped in areas with tier 2 and tier 3 lockdown restrictions, apart from in exceptional circumstances such as the end of life.