The number of Scottish care homes offering essential visits only has quadrupled amid a surge in Covid deaths and infections.

The latest data, which was published on Wednesday, shows that 181 homes were only allowing end of life visits for relatives or in cases where an elderly person is experiencing distress. This compares to 45, in the previous week.

The number of deaths where Covid was confirmed has also quadrupled in the past seven days, rising from seven to 30.

A third of all care homes are now restricting visits to a maximum of two per week - rising to 933 from 350.

Lanarkshire had the highest number of care homes offering essential visits only, followed by Lothian.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran had the lowest number of homes supporting indoor visits with just over half permitting this.

READ MORE: Call for new care home law to be extended to hospitals 

More than 400 groups and individuals have responded to a consultation on proposals to introduce Anne’s Law, which aims to ensure that care home residents have the legal right to continue to see loved ones, with appropriate safeguards.

The owners of some care homes, including Abbey Court in Glasgow, say there is no reason to refuse visits if relatives are tested and wearing the appropriate PPE.

HeraldScotland:

One relative said: "As always the difficult bit to digest is that care homes and residents get the virus through staff transmission due to community prevalence and staff inadvertently bringing the virus into care homes, yet every time the knee jerk focus is on immediately reducing family visiting.

READ MORE: Nonsense to ban care home visting again, says Glasgow owner

"It's never a focus, say, on the Care Inspectorate as regulator checking that the care home staff management have a staff testing regime that is robust, comprehensive, timeous, no gaps, tested close to before starting a shift and then reporting publically on that in inspection reports.

"An action which might actually help. Rather than just punishing familuies, residents with dementia, etc which does not actually help."

Donald MacAskill, Chief Executive of Scottish Care, has said he is concerned that visiting may be reliant on the interpretation of 'managed outbreak' by public health officials.

It comes after new figures showed double-jagged Scots are now more likely to be admitted to hospital with Covid than the unvaccinated amid an increase in elderly people falling ill due to waning immunity.

Public Health Scotland data described as "weird" by scientists shows that case rates have been lower in unvaccinated individuals than the single, double, or even triple-jabbed since Omicron became the dominant variant in Scotland.

The counterintuitive data from Public Health Scotland (PHS) contradicts previous pandemic trends which have consistently shown infection, hospitalisation and death rates to be highest among the unvaccinated.

The Covid death rate has been consistently higher since December 4 in the double-jabbed compared to the unvaccinated - but much lower in the triple-jabbed.

Professor Rowland Kao, chair of veterinary epidemiology and data science at Edinburgh University, said the data would include some "vulnerable" over 70s who have not yet had their boosters.