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Indoor visits to Covid-free nursing homes to be allowed from June 15

Some nursing home residents will see their family members for the first time since March later this month.

Visits are to be allowed from June 15 but only in facilities where there is no Covid-19 outbreak.

Indoor visits once a week by two people will be allowed with only one visitor present at any one time.

Visits must be pre-arranged and last less than half an hour.

A further 28 cases of the virus have been confirmed, bringing the total to 25,163, while the death toll stands at 1,670, after a further 7 people died.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, says the time is right to begin nursing home visits again.

"We've had a look at that particular measure and even though it was one of the Phase Three measures we think the conditions are right for us to bring that forward and recommend it for Phase Two and the government has agreed," said Dr Holohan.

"New guidance will be made available to nursing homes on the assumption that the nursing homes will put in place the various guidances that will apply to those individual nursing homes for visitation to commence from June 15."

Nursing Homes Ireland (NHI) welcomed the government's decision and said its members were anxious that the phased reintroduction of visitors would happen as soon as was safely possible.

“We acknowledge all those that have supported the nursing home in protecting residents by staying away and we acknowledge the sacrifice that families and friends of residents have made by not visiting in person over the last while," said Tadhg Daly, CEO of NHI.

"We need to remain vigilant about protecting the safety of all residents, staff, and visitors to nursing homes as part of the ongoing challenges presented by Covid19.

"We are working with our members to develop a technological solution for booking visits.

"NHI thanks all colleagues, homes, residents, families and friends for their tremendous sacrifices during Covid-19 and particular thanks to those who kept residents connected and engaged during these toughest of times."