FAMILY and friends will now be able to visit their elderly relatives at Gibraltar nursing homes every day of the week as long as they are vaccinated.

With local COVID-19 active cases still at zero, Elderly Residential Services have now taken the decision to expand visits from just four days a week.

Medical chiefs have, however, imposed strict rules for visits, which can only be made from 1pm to 6pm.

ERS bosses will now allow visits from people who have had at least one dose of the vaccination as long COVID-19 does not get found in any of the homes.

Only one visitor can see each resident, having to take an Antigen Lateral Flow test at each of the homes before visiting.

The Government has labelled GSD Opposition criticism of the need to vaccinate before visits to nursing homes and the hospital as ‘regrettable’.

“ERS residents and St Bernard’s in-patients, by their very nature, constitute the most vulnerable cohort in our community,” said a Government spokesperson.

“The decision not to allow unvaccinated visitors is based on clinical and public health considerations alone.

“Vaccination against COVID-19 is not compulsory in Gibraltar and this is the way it will remain.”

For her part, Minister for Health and Care Samantha Sacramento was just happy to give families the chance to get together again.

She said: “It brings me great joy to finally allow daily visits into ERS after such a challenging year and this return to a slightly more normal procedure.

“We have done so following the advice of our health professionals, which I have to personally thank for making this possible.

“However, we must remember that we still need to be cautious when visiting our loved ones at ERS as they are particularly vulnerable and follow Public Health advice.”

The only active cases in Gibraltar are believed to be self-isolating on a ship, with one of them fighting for life in critical care.

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