VISITING restrictions put in place to restrict the spread of norovirus and to protect Lewisham Hospital patients will remain until the end of the week.

Although the levels of norovirus in the hospital have decreased the hospital says that, following a review of the restrictions, the risk of the virus spreading is still too high to allow visitors to the hospital.

Director of operations and nursing Claire Champion said: "The safety and well-being of our patients is always our top priority. We recognise the value of visiting to our patients and this step has not been taken lightly. However, we believe these measures are essential to ensure we protect our patients, visitors and staff from this very contagious winter bug.

"Re-opening to visitors too soon could result in a further outbreak of the virus within the hospital which would be unsafe for our patients, and so it is unlikely that visiting restrictions will be lifted before January 11.

"The families of our patients have been very supportive of the decision to restrict visiting and we would like to thank them and ask for their continued understanding."

The Hospital is closed to all visitors except in the following cases:

- General Medical and Surgical Wards: At the discretion of the nurse in charge, patients who are very unwell, who are receiving end of life care, or who are newly admitted may receive limited visitors from immediate family.

- ICU, HDU and CCU: Immediate family only.

- Children’s Wards and NICU: Child’s parents only.

- Maternity: Mother’s partner or other named support person only.

People remain infectious for at least 48 hours after they have had the winter vomiting bug. If you have had diarrhoea or vomiting in the last 48 hours you should not visit a patient under any circumstances. You may still be infectious.