HOSPITAL chiefs have imposed visiting restrictions at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children to halt the spread of the infectious winter bug Norovirus.

As part of the clampdown, visiting has been restricted to parents and guardians only, with a maximum of two people per visit.

And anyone visiting children should either wash or disinfect their hands when entering and leaving wards and also before and after contact with their children.

The Belfast Trust said that viral gastroenteritis “is a concern at the moment” and have asked parents not to come to the hospital if they are feeling unwell and have any symptoms such as nausea or vomiting, tummy cramps or diarrhoea.

Any children with these symptoms in the hospital will be segregated away from other children.

While a child has a viral respiratory infection he or she will be cared for in a room along with other infected infants but separate from the main ward and will be nursed by designated nursing staff.

The trust said the measure is precautionary at this stage with the aim of keeping the potential for cross infection to a minimum as winter bugs can be particularly harmful to babies and small children who are already ill.

All planned surgery is to go ahead and Outpatient Clinics will operate as normal.

The situation will be kept under constant review and as soon as it is considered safe the restrictions will be relaxed.

Yesterday, a ward at Antrim Area Hospital had to be closed on Thursday as 18 people have contracted norovirus, the winter vomiting bug, including five members of staff.

© UTV News

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