The scheme will take place in several homes in Hampshire, Cornwall and Devon from 16 November, in the hope it can be rolled out more widely before the festive period.
One family member or friend per resident will be offered regular testing – either the PCR home kits or a rapid lateral flow test at the care home – which is designed to be combined with PPE so that “meaningful visits” can be carried out without a screen.
The number of school-age children with coronavirus has risen “significantly” in the second wave compared with the first, according to the government’s scientific advisers.
Children are now more likely than adults to be the person bringing a Covid infection into a household.
But families with children are at no higher risk of severe illness.
The National Education Union (NEU) said it was “troubled” by the number of children testing positive.
The exact role children play in transmitting coronavirus has long been an open question.
It’s clear young people as a group are at very low risk of becoming seriously ill from the virus themselves.
There is also some evidence younger children are less likely to even contract it in the first place.
But when it comes to older children, their role in passing on the virus has been much less clear.
Australia’s three most populous states on Saturday recorded at least a week with no local transmissions of the new coronavirus, boding well for the country’s recovery from the pandemic after a flare-up marred an impressive early response.
Victoria, the epicentre of the resurgence of the virus in recent months, recorded its 15th consecutive day of no new infections and no related deaths, two weeks after the state emerged from one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns.
The second-most populous state’s deputy chief health officer, Allen Cheng, told a news conference that the run of zero cases was “about as good as it can get”.