New Covid threat to Britain’s care homes, campaigners warn

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It may mean fewer lockdowns in the short term, but there is a risk those with no symptoms could inadvertently spread the virus. Regular asymptomatic testing in hospitals, care homes, and hospices was “paused” on August 31.

The Daily Express asked the Care Quality Commission how testing would be monitored at the 15,056 homes it is responsible for and how many establishments were still not fully open to visitors.

Despite being responsible for safety standards, the regulator said it had no involvement in the testing decision.

It said it relied on assurances from facilities about visiting – but experts fear this could lead to a spike. The regulator said: “CQC does not have a remit or involvement in testing.”

The spokesman also said the CQC does not have the power, under legislation, to compel care homes to inform it of changes to visiting status.

He added: “We continue to seek assurances from care home providers about how they are supporting visiting.”

The threat of a new wave, combined with the confusion over access to loved ones, has raised fears of a third successive ban on Christmas visits.

Helen Wildbore, director of the Relatives & Residents Association, said: “People in care have been left behind.

“Too many still face harmful restrictions on their daily lives, without recognition of the damage of isolation.”

Data shows Covid cases jumped 25 per cent in a week with 1,327,900 people in the UK thought to have been infected in the week ending September 26.

The Office for National Statistics’ figure is a rise of 267,400 on the week before.

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