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Government's promise to protect vulnerable rings hollow after it asks care homes to take in coronavirus patients

THE government received severe criticism yesterday from a care-home owner who had been asked to take in people who had tested positive for coronavirus.

At the daily Downing Street press conference on the Covid-19 crisis, England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty said that the number of deaths from the virus in care and nursing homes is expected to rise.

Care homes are continuing to present some of the biggest challenges in protecting vulnerable people from the spread of the virus, added Professor Whitty.

On protecting vulnerable people and the elderly, he added that people going into care homes “unnecessarily” should be “minimised.”

However, earlier in the day, Sky News reported that care homes were being asked to take in hospital patients who have tested positive for the disease.

Graham Greenaway, owner of the Warberries Nursing Home in Devon, described the policy as “importing death into care homes” and accused the government of sacrificing the elderly.

He said that care-home owners in his area have refused the request to accept people known to have coronavirus. 

Mr Greenaway said: “There would be a very good reason for that. That would be tantamount to importing death into care homes.

“And I think to add insult to injury by asking us to take Covid-19-positive patients is asking us to basically make out a suicide note for people in care.”

New government guidelines say care homes should not require a person to test negative for coronavirus before being granted admission.

The guidelines say: “Residents may also be admitted to a care home from a home setting. Some of these patients may have Covid-19 whether symptomatic or asymptomatic. All of these patients can be safely cared for in a care home if this guidance is followed.”

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