The majority of hospital patients will no longer be allowed to accept visitors following an increase in community covid cases.
The measure, which will be coming into force from 17:00 today, follows five patients receiving treatment in hospital for other conditions testing positive for the virus during a screening programme.
Two individuals, meanwhile, are specifically receiving treatment for covid in hospital, bringing the total to seven.
Pictured: Seven individuals in hospital are confirmed as having the virus - five of which were identified during a hospital screening process yesterday.
Under the new guidance for hospital attendance, patients scheduled to attend outpatient clinic appointments and other planned procedures are also being advised to come alone.
An exception is being made for children and vulnerable adults attending appointments, however. They can be accompanied by one individual wearing appropriate PPE.
The Maternity Unit, Paediatrics and the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) will remain open for visitors, with strict PPE measures in place, following national guidelines.
Government officials also assured that special arrangements will be made for patients receiving end-of-life care.
Pictured: Special arrangements will be made for individuals receiving end-of-life care.
Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf commented: “I understand that suspending visiting will impact on families and patients, and we know that not being able to visit family members whilst they are in hospital is distressing for many people.
"However, it is vital that we keep our patients, staff and the public safe."
“Thank you for your continued understanding as we try to contain and suppress the spread of covid-19 in our community and health care settings.”
A Health and Community Services Spokesperson added: “Yesterday, we identified five confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the General Hospital as part of our rigorous testing programme. These patients are not in hospital due to the virus and are being treated for other conditions.
“The contact-tracing team have begun informing direct contacts who have visited the ward in question.
“Managing Covid is not a new scenario for the Hospital, which continues to function as normal and enhanced infection control measures have been implemented as a matter of course.
“We encourage patients to attend outpatient clinic appointments and planned procedures as normal.
“To protect the identity of the patients and respect the privacy of relatives and visitors, we will not be commenting further.”
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