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Care home residents in the U.K. have been "barred" from voting in local elections due to lockdown rules.

Guidance states that care home residents can register for a postal vote. If they wish to vote in person, they must self-isolate for 14 days afterward.

A number of media outlets recently ran headlines stating that care home residents had been effectively barred from voting in local elections due to lockdown restrictions. A headline from April 14 in the Telegraph reads "Care home residents 'barred' from local elections because of Covid rules." Apple News and The Evening Standard ran similar stories.

However, the headline is both incorrect and misleading. Guidance from the Department of Health and Social Care states that all care home residents have been given the opportunity to cast a postal vote. Those who wish to attend a polling station to vote in person must self-isolate for 14 days afterward.

Campaign groups have said that the rules are unfair and want the guidance to be amended, as lockdown rules have recently been relaxed to allow shops, pubs, and restaurants to reopen. The National Care Group has said that the guidance sends a message that care home residents are less valued than the rest of the population.

In response, a Government spokesperson told Carehome Professional: “Any visit in or out of a care home brings some risk of infection and our priority must always be to manage to transmission and keep vulnerable residents safe.

“Everyone who is eligible to vote will have the opportunity to do so in these elections. People can apply for a postal vote by 20 April or a proxy vote by 27 April.”

According to the BBC, government data shows that 80 percent of staff and 90 percent of residents need to be vaccinated to provide a minimum level of protection against COVID-19 outbreaks. Currently, the figure is below 80 percent in 89 out of 150 local authority areas.

While there are some conditions attached to voting in person, it is untrue to state that care home residents have been barred from voting in local elections.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.

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