Hospital lockdown amidst Norovirus outbreak
WARDS at Cheltenham General Hospital remain closed to the public today due to an outbreak of norovirus.
People have been advised not to visit friends and relatives at the hospital in a bid to stem the spread of the diarrhoea and vomiting illness.
Health chiefs have warned the virus is "highly infectious" and promised to conduct a review visiting restrictions today.
It comes after the Queen was discharged from hospital yesterday afternoon after being assessed for gastroenteritis – a condition often caused by the bug.
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Leaders at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said they hoped to lift visiting restrictions as soon as possible.
But they were unable to give an exact date.
A trust spokesman said: "Restricting visiting is a precautionary measure and good infection control practice to protect patients and control the spread of the illness.
"I hope that families and friends will understand why we are asking them not to visit for this short period.
"By doing this, the public can help us stop the spread of norovirus, protect vulnerable patients and support NHS services."
Trust staff said exceptions to the ban can be made for relatives hoping to visit on compassionate grounds.
And they were keen to stress that it would not affect the operational running of either hospital or the levels of treatment administered to patients.
"Emergency patients will continue to be directed to the most appropriate hospital depending on their needs," added the spokesman.
Norovirus is usually over within 48 hours but its infectious nature has prompted the trust to limit the number of people moving in and out of wards.
News of the lockdown at Cheltenham General came as the Queen left hospital in London yesterday afternoon after being assessed for gastroenteritis symptoms.
She was taken to the city's King Edward VII's Hospital on Sunday – her first hospital visit in a decade.
Buckingham Palace sources reported that the Queen, 86, had been admitted as a precaution and was otherwise in "good health".
A palace spokeswoman confirmed the Queen's diary of engagements would remain suspended this week. She will miss heading to Rome on a State visit later this week and has already had to pull out of a trip to Swansea.