CARE homes in west Cheshire will benefit from a national £600 million infection control fund to reduce the transmission of coronavirus.

The fund is ring-fenced for social care and will be distributed by Cheshire West and Chester Council on behalf of central government.

The first of two funding instalments was released to the council at the end of May, with the second due to be released in July.

And the council says that 75 per cent of the first instalment will be passed to care homes as quickly as possible so that they can implement infection control measures.

One such measure will be to reduce the movement of staff working between different care settings and to limit movement between units or wings in the same care home.

The second instalment to carry out further measures will be contingent on the first being used for infection control.

The second instalment will also see 75 per cent passed on to care homes, however the Government has given councils discretion to allocate the remaining 25 per cent from both instalments to support wider infection control measures.

This could mean support for homecare providers or providers of supported living services.

Cllr Val Armstrong, cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “Our care homes and those working in them are at the forefront of the battle with coronavirus.

“We are all painfully aware of the human cost of this virus to both residents and staff in the care sector nationwide, which has been devastating.

“This new package of measures will help to cover some of the financial costs of controlling infection in settings which are caring for and nursing some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”

A national wellbeing package for social care staff has also been rolled out on the new CARE app, including two new helplines led by the Samaritans and Hospice UK.

Social care staff will be able to speak to trained telephone advisers who will provide a non-judgemental listening ear, safe space to offload and signposting to other services.