NHS Borders has reverted to essential visits only to all its hospital sites as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

The health board is currently experiencing “immense pressure” on all its services.

Cases of COVID-19 have been rising in the region, with the BGH seeing an increase in patients requiring care for the virus.

To respond to the pressures, NHS Borders is “regrettably reverting to essential visiting only across all of our hospital sites” with immediate effect.

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Chief Executive Ralph Roberts said: “Our services are under extreme pressure and we really need the help of the Borders community.

“As you have done throughout the pandemic, please help us and yourselves by behaving safely and sensibly whenever possible.”

An essential visit describes a situation when it is very important for a relative or friend to be allowed to see their loved one, according to an NHS Borders spokesperson.

Examples of this include:

  • A parent accompanying a child or a mother being accompanied by her partner for appointments or other care related to childbirth.
  • When someone has reached the end of their life, has a life-threatening illness, when someone is receiving difficult news or similar situations.
  • When people have a mental health issue or dementia, autism or a learning disability.

Essential visiting will be by appointment only with visitors contacting the ward to arrange a time to visit.

Permitted visitors are being asked to ensure that they comply with hand hygiene regulations and any instructions given to them by staff.

Mr Roberts is encouraging people to get double vaccinated, do regular lateral flow tests and wear face coverings.

If you receive a positive lateral flow result, feel unwell or are asked to, self-isolate and book a PCR test immediately.