A firm which runs more than 200 care homes sent a letter to residents’ relatives telling them to stop regular visits “until further notice” amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Barchester Care Homes, which looks after more than 11,000 residents across the UK, has written to relatives asking them to stop seeing their loved ones temporarily.
The letter told them that “as a preventative measure, we are asking visitors, including family members and friends, to stop routinely visiting our care homes and hospitals until further notice”.
“We have not taken this decision lightly and appreciate that this may cause some discomfort, but feel this is a necessary step to take.”
The letter also said “external entertainment” had been cancelled and relatives must speak to the general manager of each home before making “non-routine visits”.
If a coronavirus case is confirmed at a home then all visits will stop, the letter added.
But a spokeswoman for Barchester said the language has been “clarified” and it actually meant that visits should be “minimised”.
A statement said: “We would like to reassure residents and families across all of our care homes that we are fully adhering to guidelines from Public Health England with regards to coronavirus.
“In aligning with this, we have asked that friends and relatives minimise their visits to residents in our homes. Some of our residents are vulnerable to the virus and we therefore need to work together to limit the risk.
“We are working hard to ensure residents and families are able to contact each other through other means.”