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Northern Ireland Covid-19 lockdown easing means families can visit loved ones in hospitals and care homes

Belfast Live logo Belfast Live 30/06/2020 Maurice Fitzmaurice

Families will be able to visit loved ones in hospital as lockdown is eased - but only with masks on.

Health Minister Robin Swann announced today that new guidance is to be issued that will allow one person to visit a relative in hospital while two people can visit someone in a care home provided it is Covid-19 free.

However, he said that all visitors will have to wear masks as well as sticking to the usual guidelines on hand hygiene and coughing into your elbow.

The Minister also said that soon-to-be dads can accompany their partners to scans as well as the actual labour and post-natal visits. The revised guidance will apply from Monday, he added.

He said he had been “acutely aware of families’ yearning” to see loved in hospitals and care homes being restricted during the lockdown.

a man and a woman standing in a room: Health Minister Robin Swann and Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride during the daily media broadcast in the Long Gallery at Parliament Buildings, Stormont on Tuesday. © Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye Health Minister Robin Swann and Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride during the daily media broadcast in the Long Gallery at Parliament Buildings, Stormont on Tuesday.

The Minister was also pressed on the attendance of a large number of mourners at the funeral of veteran republican Bobby Storey today. Asked if he considered the numbers there a breach of the guidelines he was unequivocal, saying “yes”.

He added: “I sincerely hope this does not have a Dominic Cummings affect. We have zero people in intensive care today. Please don’t let this weaken your resolve. People’s actions have saved lives. Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Mr Swann said the guidance is “very clear” and that ten to 30 people are now allowed at outside gathering and that there has been “no change” regarding indoors therefore “today is a breach”.

He added that he wanted to “say to the families who have lost loved ones and followed the guidance, my thoughts and sympathies are with you”.

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