Care home residents will soon be able to receive more outdoor visitors, despite 60 new cases of coronavirus being recorded in Scotland in the last 24 hours.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman confirmed plans for up to three outdoor visitors from no more than two households from Monday.
It is the first change in visiting rules since July 3, when it was announced one designated visitor would be allowed outdoors.
But care homes will only be able to allow a visit at all if the facility has been Covid-free during the pandemic, or affected residents have fully recovered and no residents or staff have had symptoms for 28 days.
Restarting indoor visiting is still not advised, Ms Freeman said.
“This has been, and continues to be, a very challenging time for care home residents, their families and staff,” she said.
“Care homes are first and foremost people’s homes and we are committed to reintroducing measures that allow residents to connect with their family and friends. But this must be done safely and with precautions.
“It is important that we continue to monitor this situation and that all changes within care homes happen incrementally and with real caution to protect residents and staff.
“At this point in time clinical advice is not to restart indoor care home visiting, but to ensure the necessary plans are in place to move to this as soon as it is safe to do so.
“This is being continually monitored and I hope we can give a further update on this in the coming weeks.
“We are also working to identify the necessary steps needed to restart communal activity within care homes and to reintroduce external outings by residents.
“This is a complex piece of work and we will of course include key partners in this.”
There will be no change to the current visiting restrictions at care homes in Aberdeen, where lockdown measures have been imposed due to a coronavirus cluster.
The Scottish Government announced on Saturday there had been 60 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in the last day – with three people in intensive care and 261 others in hospital.
In the week ending August 8, there were 305 positive tests – bringing the new overall total to 18,950.
As of August 5, there were 60 adult care homes with a current case of suspected Covid-19 – which is 6% of the facilities in Scotland.