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Care home isolation period halved to 14 days

The government has cut the care home isolation period following a Covid outbreak to 14 days following warnings that the protocols put the NHS under further strain and prevented residents from seeing loved ones.

Previously, if a care home had at least two coronavirus cases, outbreak control measures – such as blocking new admissions and indoor visitors except those with essential caregiver status – were put in place for 28 days.

On 7 January, care homes were informed that the rules would be changed so that they could reopen 14 days after an omicron outbreak - defined as at least two cases - as long as other cases were not found.

“Throughout the pandemic we have done everything we can to protect those receiving care with the measures in place based on the latest scientific and expert advice,” said a Department of Health and Social Care spokesman.

“A change has been made to outbreak restrictions reducing the period from 28 to 14 days in line with this advice,” he added.

“We keep these measures under constant review to ensure we continue to protect the lives, health and wellbeing of residents and fully recognise the impact of isolation and the importance of companionship on physical and mental wellbeing.”

The 28-day period was criticised by NHS chiefs who said they were causing hospital patients who are medically well to be unable to be discharged.

Care provider MHA, meanwhile, said seven in 10 of its homes were closed to new admissions because of the rules.

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