UK News Care home resident, 104, urges end of ‘prison-like’ visiting restrictions
North East lockdown: 10pm curfew for bars and pubs and ban on household mixing
New local restrictions are being introduced in northeast England - including a 10pm curfew for bars and pubs and a ban on people mixing with others outside their household. Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the measures in a statement to the House of Commons on Thursday morning after the government's talks with North East councils and local MPs.They will come into force from Friday in Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham.
An 104-year-old care home resident has made a plea for visiting rules to be eased so she can spend more time with her family.
In a video message, Mary Fowler said the coronavirus restrictions mean her care home has been “like a prison”.
She urged people to get involved with campaigns to allow relatives more access, and she said many care home residents must be in the same position of wanting to see their children “at the end of their life”.
New lockdown restrictions begin in North East as Lancashire expected to follow
People in northeast England will not be able to meet others outside their household from today - as Lancashire is also expected to be placed under tighter restrictions. More than 10 million people across the UK are now in lockdown, after new restrictions in Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham began at midnight.Residents in these areas are banned from socialising with others outside their household or bubble, food and drink venues are restricted to table service only and all leisure and entertainment venues must close at 10pm.
She said: “I just want to say, it’s just been like a prison in here.
“We’re shut down, we can’t see our family and I think when you’re my age, you deserve to see your family.
“It’s all you want, is the happy faces roundabout you.
“Please try and help and do all you can. There must be loads of others like me, wanting to see their bairns at the end of their life.
“I’ve got good carers and staff is really good here, the food is good – everything, but this is what you want, your bairns roundabout you when you’re old.”
Cathie Russell, organiser of the Care Homes Relatives Scotland campaign group, shared the message online and said the 104-year-old, who is in the Balfarg Care Home in Glenrothes, Fife, is a “wonderful spokesperson for Scottish care residents”.
Timeline of key events since UK was put into lockdown
Unprecedented restrictions were announced on March 23. – March 23: The UK public is told that they will only be allowed to leave their homes for limited reasons, including food shopping, exercise once per day, medical need and travelling for work when absolutely necessary. © Provided by PA Media Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressing the nation from 10 Downing Street (PA Video) All shops selling non-essential goods are told to close, gatherings of more than two people in public are banned, events including weddings – but excluding funerals – are cancelled.
Current Scottish Government guidelines allow up to three visitors from two households to meet residents for around 30 minutes outdoors.
Indoor visits are allowed in restricted circumstances, where the care home meets certain conditions including weekly coronavirus testing of staff and a risk assessment approved by the local director of public health.
Had a positive meeting with, and others today on care home visits. We felt we were heard and look forward to a follow up meeting next week. Fingers crossed we can improve on the current situation.
— Cathie Russell (@CathHamilton1)
Mrs Russell said despite this, many homes are not allowing visits, and she wants family members to be treated as essential carers so they can have tests and personal protective equipment (PPE) and be allowed more frequent, closer contact.
PM urges Britons to 'summon the discipline' to avoid second lockdown
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged Britons to "summon the discipline and the resolve" to avoid a second national lockdown after warning there have been "too many breaches" of coronavirus rules.In a televised address to the nation, Mr Johnson called on the public to "get through this winter together" as he set out a series of new COVID-19 restrictions - including earlier closing times for pubs, bars and restaurants.
She said: “There’s got to be something better than what we’re doing.
“Obviously you’ve got to be safe and Covid is rising again, but it’s not spreading among people using PPE – it’s among people not taking precautions.
“You don’t know how long we’re going to be in this situation. Last week in Scotland another 200 people died in care homes – not from Covid, but they are dying having gone six to seven months without having any decent contact with their family. It’s causing a huge amount of anxiety and it is heart-breaking.”
After around 50 campaigners staged a protest outside the Scottish Parliament calling for more care home access, the group met Health Secretary Jeane Freeman last week and said they are hopeful of some changes to the rules.
A spokeswoman for HC-One, which operates the Balfarg care home, said it is open for safe visits between families.
She said: “We know it is vitally important for families to be connected as much as possible. We are absolutely committed to facilitating safe visits for families and are continually working to enable this whilst adapting to the ever-changing local circumstances and rules regarding the virus.
“Our goal is to reunite residents with their loved ones in a way that keeps everyone safe from the virus.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said the Government is working to improve the situation.
She said: “The Cabinet Secretary has met with families who have raised this issue and is acutely aware of the importance of visits for the health and wellbeing of both residents and their friends and family and will meet them again shortly.
“The Scottish Government is looking constantly at what else we can do to safely allow more visiting, while protecting residents as far as we can from the introduction of the virus into their homes.”
She said the nationwide household visit restrictions do not apply to care homes, meaning indoor and outdoor visits can continue, except in areas under additional restrictions and where indoor visits have been suspended.
Pub-goers head home across England as 10pm curfew begins .
The new rules, which also ban customers in England from ordering from the bar, come as the government aims to avoid a second national lockdown in the face of rising infection figures. Pictured, students enjoying a night out in Preston Who is going to pay for Rishi's £5BILLION giveaway? Chancellor hints at tax rises down the track as he reveals workers will get 80 PER CENT of salaries for one third of their hours in new £300 MILLION a month scheme - but warns he 'cannot save every job' Rishi Sunak today hinted tax rises will be necessary to pay for the coronavirus crisis after he unveiled a new package of measures