Published: 16:58, 25 March 2020
| Updated: 10:36, 27 March 2020
Hospital bosses are tightening visiting restrictions even further as the NHS battles to reduce exposure to the coronavirus.
This afternoon Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust has announced stringent new rules which state that from tomorrow no visitors will be permitted except in a number of extremely limited circumstances.
Patients receiving end-of-life care will be allowed to see one person at a time for one hour, while those about to receive ventilation will be allowed a short visit from one person.
Similar strict limits will also be in place on maternity, paediatric and neonatal wards. In a number of cases agreement of hospital staff will be required in advance to allow visits and the presence of accompanying friends and family during appointments.
The new guidelines from the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust echo other restrictions being put in place at other hospitals in the county.
Visiting hours have been scrapped at Medway Maritime Hospital, and no members of the public will not be allowed to enter the hospital site in Gillingham apart in three exception circumstances.
One visitor – either an immediate family or carer – will be allowed to visit a patient if they are receiving end of life care, a woman in labour (who may have one birthing partner) or a parent or appropriate adult visiting a child.
Last week Darent Valley Hospital banned all "non-essential" visits to its wards and departments, with the paediatric ward only allowing one parent and carer to be with the child, while the maternity department is allowing just one birthing partner to attend. Since then restrictions for expectant parents have also tightened, with partners unable to attend antenatal ultrasound scans.
In a statement, the hospital said: "We are taking all the necessary steps to protect our patients and staff in preventing the spread of Covid-19. We are therefore suspending all non-essential visiting at Darent Valley Hospital to our wards and departments until further notice."