Robert Jenrick said the government hopes to allow friends and family to visit those living in care homes in the lead up to Christmas.
Speaking to Times Radio, the communities secretary said 20 care home visiting pilots were being implemented, which the government could learn from.
“Our hope is that we’ll be able to offer friends and loved ones the ability to go visit their family members in care homes over the course of this month,” he said.
“There’s 400,000 people in care homes in England, so that’s a big task in itself, but as many of those people as possible, we hope to be able to have family members visiting them in the lead up to Christmas.
“And I think that’s absolutely right, because it’s one of the most heart-breaking aspects of the virus that people have been separated from those who are very vulnerable, who they would dearly love to see.”
Asked if he wanted to be in a position where people can hold the hand of a relative in a care home this Christmas, Mr Jenrick replied: “Absolutely… we’ve all seen the scenes, and I think most of us know friends or neighbours who are in that position. It is truly heart-breaking. It is a big task. Because as I say, there’s 400,000 people and there are tens of thousands of care home settings across the country.
“But if the 20 pilots are successful, then we’ll be able to start rolling that out across the country and we’d obviously like to try to reach as many of those candidates as possible before Christmas.”