Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said:
“Given the importance of visits for the health and well-being of older people living in care homes, no-one wants to see restrictions on visiting being imposed again, particularly at this time of year.
“However, the potential danger the omicron variant presents in terms of its transmissibility, and the particular vulnerability of older people living in care homes to becoming seriously ill due to Covid-19 – sadly evidenced by the tragedy we saw unfolding in care homes during the early stages of the pandemic – mean that introducing some restrictions will unfortunately now be required.
“Care home managers and staff, and the public bodies who support them, have done a huge amount to enable safe visits, and I know throughout Wales people will be doing all they can to ensure that safe visits can continue during Christmas and older people are supported to visit family and loved ones, within the rules set out by the new guidance.
“This is something I will be closely monitoring as we need to ensure that visits can continue to go ahead where they can be managed safely, and that these restrictions are lifted as soon as it is safe to do so. It’s also crucial that these kinds of restrictions do not become embedded within care home culture as we move forward.
“I will continue to engage with Welsh Government Ministers to raise any concerns I have and to ensure that the voices of older people living in care homes are heard and responded to as we deal with the next phase of the pandemic.”