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Hugging still forbidden: Britons express disbelief after govt says ending lockdown will begin with… hand-holding at care homes

Hugging still forbidden: Britons express disbelief after govt says ending lockdown will begin with… hand-holding at care homes
As the UK slowly exits lockdown, people will soon be allowed to visit their loved ones at care homes and hold their hands, the government has said, but many Brits have slammed the new ‘privilege’ as insulting and illogical.

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. 

Others questioned why care home visits were being allowed while children, among the least vulnerable to the virus, are not allowed to play outside. 

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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