Merton Council has announced family members and friends will now be able to visit their loved ones in residential and nursing homes.

In response to the global pandemic, the government advised care homes to limit visits to those essential to maintain services for residents, and for end-of-life pastoral care, back in March.

Following months of families being separated from their loved ones, council authorities have confirmed the relaxation of "some restrictions", subject to a risk assessment being carried out by the Director of Public Health at Merton Council.

Director of Public Health at Merton Council, Dagmar Zeuner said: “A dynamic risk assessment has now been carried out and has shown that infection rates and other indicators of viral spread in Merton, South West London and London overall are currently sufficiently low so that DHSC conditions apply for relaxation.

Wimbledon Times:

"The decision on whether to allow visitors to care homes has now be delegated to local care home managers in Merton, who will take into account the individual needs of their residents.

“Care Homes are residents’ own homes, and as much as possible should offer the same quality of life, including visits from relatives, friends and neighbours.

"The benefits of improving mental health and wellbeing through welcoming visitors needs to be judged against the risks of visitors transmitting coronavirus.

"On balance, I believe that the care home managers themselves were best placed to make this decision.

“We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert.

"If you are visiting a care home you must follow all necessary infection control measures that have been put in place.”