Ruthie Henshall welcomes new two visitors at care homes rule

Gloria Henshall and Ruthie

West End star Ruthie Henshall, pictured here with her mother, has welcomed the latest government announcement - Credit: Ruthie Henshall

Suffolk West End star Ruthie Henshall has welcomed news that care home residents will be allowed a second regular indoor visitor from April 12.

Infants and children are not counted as one of the two visitors, meaning care home residents in England will be allowed to see small bubbles of loved ones for the first time in months.

Ms Henshall, who recently visited her mum at Spring Lodge care home, in Woolverstone, near Ipswich, welcomed the government announcement - but said many families still face a "postcode lottery". 

Ruthie Henshall visiting her mum, Gloria, at Spring Lodge care home in Woolverstone

Ruthie Henshall visiting her mum, Gloria, at Spring Lodge care home in Woolverstone - Credit: Kingsley Healthcare

Ms Henshall told BBC Radio Five Live: "I can't tell you the heartbreaking stories that I'm hearing of people who are still not allowed to go into a home. 

"Since the guidance has changed, there have been no cases of Covid inside the homes that are allowing people in. 

"My mother's had her second jab, I've had my jab. I take the rapid test before I go in, fully PPE-d up. 

"The risk is minimal to the positives and the joy that is coming out of it for my mother."

The actress and star of I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! leads Rights for Residents, a national campaign calling on the government to relax rules over care home visits and allow them to happen indoors with closer contact.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the drop in community infections and the vaccine rollout means the increase in visitor numbers can go ahead as set out in the roadmap out of lockdown.

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The DHSC said visitors would be allowed to hold hands but that personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn, while a negative rapid lateral flow test will also be required from adult visitors before entry is permitted.

Prime minister Boris Johnson said: “Reuniting family and friends has been a priority each time restrictions have eased, and the next step will be no different.

“I’m particularly pleased to allow residents to have more visitors, including grandchildren, given the isolation and concern felt by so many this past year.

“Thanks to the tireless work of care home staff, and the success of the vaccine rollout, we’re able to increase the number of visits in a safe and controlled way.”