Care home residents can receive unlimited visitors from Monday as restrictions to tackle the Omicron variant of coronavirus are eased, the Department of Health said.
Self-isolation periods will also be reduced from 14 days to 10 for those who test positive, with further reductions if they test negative on days five and six.
And there will be changes to the testing regime for care workers from February 16, with pre-shift lateral flow tests replacing the current system involving weekly asymptomatic PCR tests.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I know how vital companionship is to those living in care homes and the positive difference visits make, which is why we continued to allow three named visitors and an essential care giver under Plan B measures.
“Thanks to the progress we have made, I am delighted that care home restrictions can now be eased further allowing residents to see more of their loved ones.”