1. ITV Report

Coronavirus: Hospitals tighten visiting restrictions and increase beds to combat Covid19

  • WATCH: Malcolm Shaw reports on the efforts of our region's hospitals

Hospitals across the south say they're getting ready to take on the greatest challenge the NHS has ever faced, as the number of coronavirus patients continues to rise.

Many have banned all visitors to patients, in an effort to reduce the spread of infections.

  • East Kent Hospitals: 1 visitor per patient for one hour a day
  • Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Hospitals: Almost all visits banned
  • KIMS Private Hospital in Maidstone: Cancelled all non-urgent treatments to support NHS
  • John Radcliffe Hospital: Banned all visitors
  • Stoke Mandeville Hospital: Banned all visitors
  • Queen Alexandra Hospital: Banned all visitors

In Reading, the Royal Berkshire Hospital says it's making "far reaching efforts" to keep patients safe during the outbreak.

This includes increasing the number of intensive care beds, limiting visitors to one an hour and seeing outpatients over the phone or via video calls in so called "virtual outpatient clinics."

  • WATCH: Chief Executive of Royal Berkshire Hospital on how his staff are working to keep patients safe.

We've got the opportunity to extend the number of intensive care beds to 56, and that's just been an enormous from the outstanding staff who've been working around the clock to make that happen."

– Steve McManus, Chief Executive of RBH NHS Trust

As pressures on the NHS grow, people are being encouraged to show their appreciation with a national round of applause at 8pm tonight (26 March).

The campaign mirrors similar actions seen in Italy and Spain, where residents in lockdown spontaneously took to their balconies and front doors to clap for their countries health workers.