VISITING restrictions will apply at Lydney, The Dilke and seven other Gloucestershire hospitals in what health chiefs say are “responsible and proactive” measures to prepare for coronavirus.

The restrictions – which will see visiting to adult wards only allowed between 1pm and 6pm, seven days a week, will be introduced from tomorrow (Saturday, March 14).

They will apply to Lydney and The Dilke, the five other community hospitals in the county and the general hospitals at Gloucester and Cheltenham.

Only one visitor per patient will be allowed with a maximum of two visitors a day although anyone with a cough, shortness of breath or symptoms of diarrhoea or vomiting should not visit.

Children under 16 should not visit the hospitals including maternity wards or the children’s ward at Gloucester Royal.

People over 70 and/or with a long-term health condition advised to carefully consider their health and well-being and to speak to ward staff before planning a visit.

Only one person will be able to accompany women in labour and health chiefs are asking that nobody else visits the maternity unit.

Visiting to the maternity ward, delivery suite and birth units will be restricted to partners.

Only parents and carers will be able to visiting children’s wards at Gloucester Royal with only one person per visit and a maximum of two per day.

All visitors to hospital will be asked to follow infection control advice from staff.

Professor Steve Hams, director of quality and chief nurse at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that manages Cheltenham General Hospital and Gloucestershire Royal Hospital said: “The number one priority is the health, safety and wellbeing of our patients and that is true right across the NHS in Gloucestershire.

“We understand that these restrictions will be difficult for some patients and their loved ones, but at the same time I think there will be real understanding of why we are taking this precautionary and responsible step.

John Trevains, director of nursing, therapies and quality at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust that manages the seven community hospitals in the county said: “Whilst the current number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 is low in the county, it is right that we plan ahead and take proportionate actions that are in the best interests of patient care and safety.

We also need to support our excellent hospital staff across the NHS in Gloucestershire so they can continue to focus all their efforts on the people they are caring for.”