CARE home residents will be allowed to hold hands with loved ones indoors from next month as part of the government's roadmap to ease coronavirus restrictions.

Worcestershire residents will be allowed to nominate one person to regularly visit them with visitors required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and take a coronavirus lateral flow test before entering care homes.

Holding hands will be allowed under the new rules but visitors will be asked not to hug or kiss relatives.

Outdoor visits – such as those inside pods or behind screens – will be allowed to continue giving care home residents the chance to see more than just the one nominated visitor.

Guidance detailing the changes will be published in the week beginning March 1.

Councillor Adrian Hardman, cabinet member for adult social care at Worcestershire County Council, welcomed the news.

“We know how incredibly difficult it has been for care home residents and their families during this pandemic," he said.

“The announcement about one regular visitor being allowed in care homes from March 8 is very much welcomed.

“Of course there will be safety measures in place at each care home including visitors wearing PPE at all times but this is the first step in allowing more visiting in care homes which will make such a difference to residents and their families.”

Currently, visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows.

Close contact visits are not allowed and will be stopped if there is a coronavirus outbreak in the care home.

Compassionate visits, such as if a resident is receiving end-of-life care, are also still allowed.

The government's four-step roadmap, which outlines how lockdown measures are set to be eased ahead of plans to 'end' lockdown completely by June 21, was revealed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons on Monday (February 22).

The roadmap says the Government wants to “go further and allow more visitors” when the data shows it is safe.

During step two of the roadmap plan, which is due to start on April 12 at the earliest, infection levels in the local area and the effectiveness of the vaccine for residents will be reviewed by the government.

The government will then make a decision on extending the number of visitors to two per resident as well as set out a plan for the next phase of visits.