The rules on visiting residents in care homes are to be relaxed, the Scottish government has announced.
Indoor visits will no longer be limited to 30 minutes, and can now last up to four hours.
Visitors will be allowed to hold hands with residents as long as they stick to rules to stop the infection spreading.
And up to six visitors from two households, including children, will be able to attend outdoor visits which can last up to one hour.
Visitors will also be allowed to bring residents gifts and their belongings.
However, visiting will continue to be “restricted to outdoor and essential visits only” in the Glasgow, West and East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire, and North and South Lanarkshire council areas.
The changes were announced by the health secretary, Jeane Freeman, during the government’s coronavirus briefing.
She said a staged approach was being taken to reintroduce visiting to care homes as safely as possible.
The new guidance also allowed spiritual and faith representatives, hairdressers, pets and therapets to visit care homes again.
The changes will be implemented once care homes are satisfied they can be delivered safely, the Scottish government said.
Ms Freeman added that care homes must be Covid-free for 28 days and have been taking part in weekly testing for all staff to allow these visits.
More “clarity and flexibility” on essential visits was also being provided.
Essential visits should always be permitted with appropriate safety precautions, she said.
They “should be supported to prevent or respond to a lessening in resident’s health”, “to help communicate when [a resident] is in distress” and to allow a resident to see their family…
— to www.bbc.co.uk