NURSING HOME residents in Ireland have been advised not to visit their families at Christmas due to Covid-19 fears.
This is in spite of an easing of restrictions to start on Friday, which will temporarily lift domestic travel bans and allow up to three households to meet indoors.
With just over a week to go before Christmas Day, the Government advice will come as a huge blow to care residents who were looking forward to spending time with their family over the festive period.
Under the guidance, elderly residents are not being permitted to leave their care homes to spend Christmas with loved ones unless a detailed risk assessment is carried out.
Minister for Older People Mary Butler warned that there may be a Covid spike over Christmas and that visits to households could bring the virus back into nursing homes.
Following the announcement, an advocacy group for the elderly said that families will be "devastated."
"We know many residents and families will be simply devastated by this advice from Minister Butler because they have a tradition of celebrating Christmas together with loved ones outside of the nursing home," said Sage executive director Sarah Lennon.
The news comes following a recent surge in Covid-19 cases in Ireland.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is meeting today to discuss Friday's lifting of restrictions.
It's understood that the team are reviewing the proposed 'relaxation period', which will run from tomorrow until just after Christmas.