Patient visits longer than an hour have been banned at Epsom and St Helier Hospitals following the latest national guidance in regard to coronavirus.

A message posted on the Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust website said visiting is now limited to an immediate family member or carer for one hour per day, per patient at designated visiting times.

"Please consider other ways of keeping in touch, like phone calls and video calls," the message read.

"You should not visit any health and care settings, and this applies to all inpatient, diagnostic and outpatient areas, if you are unwell, especially if you have a high temperature or a new, persistent cough or vulnerable as a result of your medication, a chronic illness or are over 70 years of age."

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This measure has become common practice around South London, with St George's Hospital as well as Lewisham and Queen Elizabeth Hospital having all taken similar measures.

The message added that visitor numbers are being limited to one visitor per patient unless there are exceptional circumstance, and with the prior agreement of the ward sister or charge nurse.

"No children under 12 should be visiting without the ward sister or charge nurse’s prior permission," it continued.

"If you are visiting paediatrics and neonatal services – two visitors are allowed and this may include a child under 12.

"We ask for the public’s help in respecting these rules."

So far a total of three patients diagnosed with coronavirus - all with underlying health issues - have died at Epsom and St Helier Hospitals.