NEARLY 150 care homes in Wales have reported coronavirus cases among staff or residents so far this month, as infections rise across the nation.

The figure includes 59 care homes that have reported one or more positive cases in the past seven days.

The figures are still lower than last winter's peak, when a wave of infections forced fresh national lockdown measures and prolonged a freeze on care homes in Wales.

But ahead of this Christmas, the Welsh Government has issued updated guidance for people who want to visits their loved ones in care homes, urging them to take precautionary measures amid ongoing concern over the new Omicron variant, which early research suggests may be spreading more quickly than previous Covid strains.

The new figures, published by the Welsh Government today (Tuesday) show that six care homes in Gwent have confirmed cases in the past week. Three of those homes are in Newport and three are in Monmouthshire.

In December to date, the number of Gwent care homes to report confirmed Covid cases stands at 28.

What are the current rules for care home visits?

Currently, the Covid rules in Wales allow for visiting care home residents, but with measures in place like testing. It is also up to each individual care home provider to decide whether visiting should be allowed, and in any cases where there is an outbreak of Covid cases, visiting has to be paused.

But with the Covid situation developing rapidly, and ministers meeting regularly to discuss the restrictions in place, there may potentially be some changes to Wales' care home visiting guidance in the coming weeks.


As things stand, each care home resident in Wales may nominate an 'essential visitor', who will do most of the visiting. That person must take a lateral flow test each time they visit the care home, and wait outside until the test result appears. 

Homes also have the discretion to allow extra visitors.

Similarly, visiting can be restricted at care homes, and local authorities can step in to restrict visiting at specific homes or across a specific area. The Welsh Government can also stop care home visiting nationally, if required.

At all care homes, people who test positive for Covid, who have been asked or are required to self-isolate, or who are close contacts of someone who tests positive should not attempt to visit a care home resident.