HEALTH chiefs are asking the public to make only "essential" visits to four hospitals and a birthing centre in the Southampton area.

The restriction applies to Southampton General Hospital, Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton Children's Hospital, the Royal South Hants Hospital and the New Forest Birthing Centre at Ashurst.

Ii is part of an attempt by the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The trust said: "As the situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to develop rapidly, we need to take all necessary precautions to protect all our patients and staff.

"As with any infection outbreak, we are asking the public to limit visiting in our hospitals to essential visits only.

"If you have a new consistent cough or high temperature (of 37.8 degrees centigrade or higher) then please do not visit our hospitals.

"You should, as stated in NHS and Public Health England guidance, self-isolate at home for seven days.

"The latest national guidance (update 12 March) is available via

"We would like to thank everyone for their support and advise everyone to continue following the regularly updated national guidance from Public Health England and NHS England."