VISITORS are being allowed back on the wards at Basingstoke as it sees fewer patients with coronavirus.

Just one visitor will be allowed for each patient and advance bookings will have to be made.

But hospital bosses have warned against complacency and said strict social distancing and hygiene measures must still be followed.

Healthcare staff will also be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and there may be clear Perspex screens between bed spaces.

Lara Alloway, chief medical officer, said: “From Monday we have opened up some of our visiting, that is very controlled and all negotiated with the ward teams.

“We were keen to make sure we offset the risk of visiting but really understand how important it is for patients.

“We are very aware that even though we are doing electronic communication, with iPads across the wards, that isn’t enough for some people.”

On the progress of visiting, Dr Alloway said: “That seems to be going very well, we did a lot preparation with the staff for that, but it isn’t just open visiting by any means.”

Visitors are being warned that if they arrive at the hospital without booking first with the nurse in charge, they will be turned away.

The trust has also said that people may not be able to visit every day and the length of the visit may vary.

Personal belongings brought into the hospital should be minimised.

Visits by children under 12 will not be permitted except in cases where a patient is receiving palliative or end of life care, and only one parent is allowed to accompany children, no siblings.

In order to control the virus and for the safety of all, the trust has said, you will be required to:

• Wear a face mask inside the hospital, communal/catering areas remain closed, use hand gel on entry and wash your hands on entry to the ward and replace your mask/face covering with a surgical mask

• Socially distance at all times – including when you are with your relative/ loved one

• When you are ready to leave, you will need to wash your hands with soap and water before leaving the ward

• Dispose of your face mask upon leaving the main hospital building in the yellow bins supplied and disinfect your hands with gel, head directly home, do not visit others

• It is strongly encouraged that all clothes you wear should to be washed separately when you arrive home at 60 degrees or higher.