Care home residents will be able to have overnight stays away without the need to isolate for two weeks when they return.

Currently, residents can only leave a care home for a visit if outdoors or for high priority reasons such as a dental or GP appointment.

But as part of an easing of visiting restrictions announced on Monday, they will now be able to leave their home for more social reasons without having to isolate.  

They would, however, still need to isolate for 14 days following a trip out that is deemed high risk by an assessment carried out by the care home or an overnight stay in hospital.

It is understood that individual risk assessments will take into account the vaccination status of residents, visitors and staff, levels of infection and variants of concern in the community, as well as where the resident is going on a visit and what activities they will take part in whilst on the visit. Assessments will also consider the mode of transport residents intend to use. 

The two-week isolation requirements for those who are admitted to a care home from the community will also be lifted from June 21, although if a person is admitted from a hospital or another care home they must also self-isolate.  

The Department of Health and Social Care said that to ensure this happens safely residents will undergo an enhanced testing regime which includes a PCR test before admission, a PCR test on the day of admission and a further PCR test seven days later. 

It follows the Government’s announcement of easing restrictions in May, which stated that residents were no longer subjected to a two-week isolation period if they left the site for high priority appointments.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters on Monday: "The requirement for residents to isolate for 14 days after visits out of care homes will also be removed, in most cases."

The Government also strengthened the role of the "essential care giver", meaning every resident should be able to nominate a friend or family member to provide extra care on their visits. Essential care givers can continue to visit during virus outbreaks.

The care minister Helen Whately said:  "I have heard first-hand from those living and working in care homes how difficult the restrictions around visiting have been, and I’m incredibly grateful to everyone working in the sector who has helped reunite families safely.

"Thanks to the continued success of the vaccine rollout, I am pleased we can now take another step towards normality, helping more people enjoy visits out of the care home while protecting them from the continued risk of Covid-19."