Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 4th January 2021.

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The First Minister:

We will not keep restrictions on care home visiting in place for any longer than is necessary. I know that saying that does not take away the pain, anxiety and suffering of care home residents and their families who have been through a dramatic and torrid few months.

The new strain of the virus is spreading perhaps 70 per cent faster than the previous one. We know that that strain took a toll on care homes. We would be negligent if we did not give stringent advice about the need to restrict indoor visiting in care homes. We are also, as we have been for some time, rolling out further testing in care homes. Residents and staff are also in the top priority group for vaccinations. We hope that we will reach a much better position not too far into this year and that we will get care home visiting back to normal.

In the meantime, as I would also say about schools, we all have a part to play. If we can drive the spread of the virus down, we will all help to create the conditions in which that will become more possible more quickly.