Care home residents are now allowed only 3 visitors and 1 essential care worker under updated Government guidance designed to protect those most vulnerable to Covid-19 this winter.

The Department of Health and Social Care said the move would 'balance the current Covid-19 risk and the need to keep people safe', with the Government saying it 'expects and encourages' providers to facilitate visits wherever possible.

Meanwhile, vaccinated residents who want to visit family and friends outside their care home will need to take a rapid test every other day for 2 weeks after each outing, while those not vaccinated must isolate after visiting others outside. 

Staff testing is being increased from 2 rapid tests a week to 3, alongside a weekly PCR test.

Care homes are receiving support from the City of Wolverhampton Council and its partners to understand and implement the new guidance which came into effect last week.

Councillor Linda Leach, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: "The Government has introduced a number of new requirements which have had to be implemented by local care homes.

"While I am sure some families will be upset by the impact these measures may have, particularly on visiting at Christmas, this is something that the homes have been told they must do and it is important that everything that can be done is being done to protect residents from the risks posed by Covid-19.”

The Government says that, while vaccination is proving very effective, it is still seeing some cases of severe illness, hospitalisation and death of care home residents who have been vaccinated. It is advising caution as it awaits more details of the potential impact posted by the new Omicron variant of Covid-19.

For more details of the current Covid-19 measures, please visit GOV.UK

Latest figures show there were 470.5 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the last 7 days. That means 1,237 people tested positive for the virus in that same period – though the true number of cases will likely be higher.