Changes to rules around visiting nursing homes come into effect today after new guidance from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler said children can now visit their grandparents in these facilities - but they will not be able to hug them.

Deputy Butler told RTÉ's Drivetime that visitors will still have to wear face coverings and get their temperature taken and they will not be allowed bring in food to residents.

She said more family members will also be able to visit their loved ones in nursing homes from now on - but only for an hour a week.

After last week's Health Information and Quality Authority report - which found that half of nursing homes inspected after Covid-19 outbreaks were not following proper infection prevention and control measures - Ms Butler said she was concerned about certain aspects of the report.

She will be examining the findings along with the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly. 

Ms Butler said mistakes were made after people were discharged from the acute settings without being tested for Covid-19 back in March and April. 

"It was a significant factor in the amount of people who died in nursing home settings," she told Drivetime.

The Minister said all nursing homes now have a three day supply of PPE in case there is a second wave of the virus which she described as "sufficient".

She said they are going to be looking at clinical governance when it comes to private nursing homes and the whole sector.