More people can visit their loved ones in care homes in Scotland as of today, the government has announced.
The relaxation excludes Aberdeen City Council due to local outbreaks of coronavirus cases.
The number of people allowed to visit a care home resident has increased from one to three, involving no more than two households, provided they meet strict criteria.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “This has been, and continues to be, a very challenging time for care home residents, their families and staff. Care homes are first and foremost people’s homes and we are committed to reintroducing measures that allow residents to connect with their family and friends. But this must be done safely and with precautions.”
Ms Freeman said clinical advice currently prevented the resumption of indoor visits adding she hoped to have an update on guidance in the coming weeks.
Care homes have been asked to develop plans for the resumption of indoor visits by 24 August for submission to their local health board’s Director of Public Health.
The Health Secretary said the government was also consulting on what was needed to resume communal activity in care homes and the reintroduction of external outings.
Visits are only permissible for care homes that have been COVID-free throughout the outbreak, if no staff or residents have had symptoms for 28 days and if the home is actively participating in weekly staff testing.
Visitors need to wear face coverings throughout their visit and physical distancing and hand and cough hygiene are required at all times.
Essential visits, including those involving end of life care, and visits for residents who are experiencing distress, are permitted and should continue to be supported by care homes, the government added.