Wolverhampton follows Birmingham by introducing ban on care home visits

Wolverhampton has followed Birmingham by introducing a ban on non-essential visits to care home as the Coronavirus infection rate rises.

On Wednesday (August 19), the Director of Public Health banned all "non-essential" visits to care homes in Birmingham to help prevent the spread of the virus.

At the start of the pandemic in March, care homes across the country closed their doors to visitors, with staff dressing in full PPE and some moving in to care for their residents.

Last month the government said that visitor rules could start to be relaxed, as long as local directors of public health were happy, and appropriate restrictions were in place such as social distancing.

Councillor Linda Leach, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: "We know how important it is for families and friends to be able to visit their loved ones and have been working closely with local care homes to ensure this can be done as safely as possible.

 "Unfortunately, due to a slow but steady increase in coronavirus infection rates both locally and regionally, we have had to take the decision to limit non-essential visiting to outdoor spaces and garden areas only."

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, tweeted on July 22:

But now the Director of Public Health from Birmingham has written to care homes saying,

"I have the unfortunate job of sharing that whilst I recognise the hard work of everyone in reducing the number of Covid-19 outbreaks across the City, the current rate of infection is now above the set threshold of 14 cases/100,000 population.

This unfortunately means that any and all non-essential visits to care homes must now cease with immediate effect."

- Dr. Justin Varney, Director of Public Health

Alison Mulligan, the manager of Harborne Lane Specialist Care Centre in Birmingham says they were really disappointed when they heard the news, as they've put a lot of effort in to enable visits outdoors.

Harborne Lane Specialist Care Centre Credit: ITV News Central

Relatives have also been disappointed. But, she says, looking at the rising rate of infection, she thinks it was the right decision.

As for the residents, she says they come from a stoic generation, who say they'll just get on with it, as long as they're safe.

Cases of Coronavirus in Birmingham are on the rise - figures released yesterday from Public Health England show a rise in the seven days to August 14 to 31.5 cases per 100,000 of the population, up from 18.2 per 100,000 in the seven previous days.

Watch Daniel Skipp's report here:

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