Barnsley Hospital suspends visiting after rise in Omicron and BA.2 Covid strains

Credit: MEN Media

Barnsley Hospital has suspended all non-essential visiting after what it calls "extreme circumstances" caused by a rise in Covid-19 cases.

In a statement the hospital said it was bringing in the restrictions to reduce the risk of transmitting Covid, particularly the Omicron and BA2 variant, which it says are "much more infectious and transmittable."

The BA2 strain of the virus is a sub-lineage of the now dominant Omicron variant and has a greater growth rate.

A spokesperson for Barnsley Hospital said: "The trust has taken this difficult and important decision to protect our most vulnerable patients – we understand this can be upsetting for patients and families. However, the restrictions are in place to reduce the number of people on wards and departments."

The restrictions mean anyone attending an outpatient or diagnostic appointment, or attending the emergency department, is being asked to go alone, unless they need to be accompanied by a carer.

Visiting is permitted for patients receiving end-of-life care and for vulnerable patients.

Visitors are asked to take a lateral flow test before arriving at the hospital, wear a face mask and maintain social distancing.

The hospital says the rules will be kept under continous review.