Hospital visiting to resume in Scotland from April 26

Health secretary Jeane Freeman says one visitor will initially be permitted to visit one patient as restrictions ease.

Hospital visits will be allowed to resume from April 26, health secretary Jeane Freeman said on Friday.

Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing, Freeman said one visitor for one patient will be initially permitted.

People can only visit hospitals at present for essential reasons, such as supporting a birth partner, visiting someone receiving end-of-life care or accompanying someone with a mental health issue or learning disability.

Freeman said: “Since the pandemic began, visits to hospital wards have been suspended unless a patient is reaching the end of their life or in other exceptional circumstances.

“These restrictions have been unimaginably difficult for patients and their loved ones and imposing them has been one of the amongst many difficult decisions we have had to take.

“But we also know it has been essential in protecting patients and staff and minimising the spread of the virus.”

Freeman said some restrictions on hospital visiting will be essential for some time to come, adding that extra funds were being supplied to support virtual visiting.

She added: “Subject to the continued suppression of the virus, hospital visiting will restart from April 26.

“Initially, only one visitor will be allowed for each patient and we will be issuing guidance to our health boards to help them ensure that visits are as safe as possible.

“April 26 will not be a return to normal visiting but it is I think an important step towards normality and will I hope be welcomed by health staff, by patients and by their loved ones.”

Freeman also announced that a further eight coronavirus deaths have been recorded in Scotland in the past 24 hours.

The death toll under this measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is now 7544. But weekly figures on suspected Covid-19 deaths recorded by National Records of Scotland suggest the most up-to-date total is at least 9831.

A further 655 positive cases were also reported by the Scottish Government. The daily test positivity rate is 2.9%, up from 2.7% on Thursday.

A total of 212,509 people have tested positive in Scotland since the start of the pandemic.

There are 397 people in hospital confirmed to have Covid-19, eight fewer than on Monday.

Of these, 35 were in intensive care, down three.

As of Friday morning, a total of 2,066,460 people in Scotland have received their first dose of vaccine – an increase of 43,458 from the previous day – and 9335 received their second dose, taking that total to 201,435.

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