Hospital patients will be able to receive visitors this week as lockdown restrictions are eased. 

During the pandemic, hospital visits were limited to circumstances such as a patient reaching the end of their life, as a birthing partner or where people with mental health issues would be left distressed if they did not receive a visit.

But from Monday, July 13,  family and friends chosen as a designated visitor will be able to visit hospital patients. 

However, designated visitors will need to follow strict public health guidance and must arrange visiting hours ahead of time with the ward staff. 

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They will also not be allowed to visit any other patients in the hospital and will need to also adhere to hand hygiene and face-covering guidance, maintain strict physical distancing in communal areas of the hospital. 

If the visitors are exhibiting any symptoms of Covid-19 they will also not be allowed to visit. 

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: "Restricting access to people in hospital has been necessary to keep patients and staff as safe as possible and it has helped us protect the capacity and resilience of NHS Scotland.

"I want to thank everyone who has followed this guidance as I know how hard it has been for patients, families and carers not to have seen their loved ones in hospital.

"The continued progress we are making in suppressing the virus has allowed us to safely, and in a series of phases, resume hospital visiting in line with clinical expert advice.

"There is a need to balance the risk of physical and psychological harm that the absence of visitors can cause, with the gradual reduction of Covid-19. We have worked with Health Protection Scotland to plan how we safely restore a person-centred approach to visiting in Scotland's hospitals.

"The safety of patients, staff and visitors will continue to be our priority."

Patients with Covid-19 can have essential visitors.

The Scottish Government said that specific visiting arrangements may vary between health boards depending on the type of care patients are receiving, and the space available in different care settings to maintain physical distancing.