Prime Minister urges public avoid all ‘unnecessary’ care home visits to protect residents

“Unnecessary” care home visits should stop, the Prime Minister said, as health experts warned that protecting residents will be one of the most challenging parts of the coronavirus outbreak.

Boris Johnson said “unnecessary” visits to friends and relatives in care homes should cease as he set out a raft of social distancing measures intended to slow the spread of Covid-19.

He told a press conference on Monday: “You can take it from what we have just said about avoiding all unnecessary contact for those particular groups – the really strong advice that we are giving to people to avoid unnecessary contact with the over-70s, those with particular health conditions – absolutely, we don’t want to see people unnecessarily visiting care homes.”

Mr Johnson was speaking at the first of a daily series of press conferences with chief medical officer for England Professor Chris Whitty and the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

Prof Whitty said protecting care home residents will be one of “the most challenging things” to deal with during the coming months.

He said: “Let me be clear that how to protect people in care homes and nursing homes is going to be one of the most challenging things for every nation on this question.

“Because of course they are vulnerable and they do have to move in and out of health services from time to time.”

It comes as the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said routine inspections of care homes will be suspended.

Ian Trenholm, chief executive of the CQC, said: “During this period, our priority will be to support those who deliver health and social care to keep people safe during this global health emergency.

“We will therefore be stopping routine inspections from today. It may still be necessary to use our inspection powers in a very small number of cases when there is clear evidence of harm, such as allegations of abuse.”

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