Hugging still forbidden: Britons express disbelief after govt says ending lockdown will begin with… hand-holding at care homes
Starting on March 8, care home residents will be permitted to designate one person who can make regular visits. Hugging and kissing are still strictly prohibited, but hand-holding will be tolerated. The visitor will have to don personal protective equipment and pass a rapid Covid-19 test before entering the facility. However, they will not be required to be vaccinated. Depending on the circumstances, care homes will reportedly be allowed to decide if residents can see more than one person, but visitation rights will be suspended if a local lockdown is imposed.
The rule change is part of the government’s roadmap to ease the UK out of its third lockdown, which began in early January. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to unveil the full plan next week.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock praised the government-approved visits and hand-holding as a “first step to getting back to where we want to be”. According to him, greater visiting privileges could be granted assuming that the infection rate is kept low.
While the government billed the move as an important step towards easing out of lockdown, it seems many on social media took offence to the announcement.
Conservative commentator Paul Joseph Watson expressed mocking gratitude to the government for being ‘allowed’ to hold hands with someone.
The government is to allow hand holding! This after they said we could sit on a park bench with another person. My gratitude for the state is so intense, I could cry. pic.twitter.com/OYEwKMtUWO— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) February 20, 2021
Others questioned why care home visits were being allowed while children, among the least vulnerable to the virus, are not allowed to play outside.
We have boasted how great our vaccine rollout has been and for that we are being rewarded with being able to see 1 other household outside from april🙈.Really? Thats it? Great people allowed into a care home 100% but thats inside and kids cant play say a game of footy outside?— lee wallace (@leewall08354567) February 20, 2021
One person said they had been waiting months to visit their mother, but that the guideline seemed illogical.
“I don’t understand the Government covid logic with respect to other draconian lockdown restrictions. If the situation is as bad as gov makes out, why risk the vulnerable first?” they wrote.
Downing Street has resisted calls to commit to a set timeframe for lifting the rules, insisting that it is impossible to predict how the health crisis will evolve over time. One senior health official said ending lockdown might require the country’s entire adult population to be vaccinated.
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