CARE homes across Wirral have received the first instalment of a government funding boost to help cover additional costs of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Infection Control Fund - totalling more than £4m - will be used to help reduce the risk of infection by ensuring staff work in just one care home at a time.

In some cases, it will limit their need to use public transport for work.

It will also help to support with the segregation of positive COVID-19 residents in care homes, and other environmental changes to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

The money has been allocated to care homes on a 'per bed' basis and the council has identified how it is to be spent. Care providers who receive an allocation of the money are required to cover full wages for their staff who are self-isolating or absent from work for COVID-19 related reasons.

25 per cent of the grant is to be used on other COVID-19 infection control measures, in support of the wider care sector.

Councillor Chris Jones, cabinet member for adult care, health and wellbeing said: "The last few months have been challenging for our care providers, who have given so much to keep vulnerable residents as safe as possible during the pandemic.

"This money is a welcome boost for helping to reduce the risk of infection. Teamed with strategy and guidelines for preventing the spread of the virus, I’m sure it will go a long way to help reassure care workers and reduce health risks for both staff and residents."

All care homes will now complete an Infection Control Self Assessment by Friday.

Providers will need to inform the council and the Department of Health and Social Care on how they have used any extra infection control funding they receive.

The second instalment of funding is expected to be paid to the council this month.