THE ferry service between Lymington and the Isle of Wight will be suspended from Tuesday.

Wightlink said it "regrets" having to suspend the Lymington-Yarmouth car ferry route until normal services can be restored following the outbreak of coronavirus.

The company said passenger numbers have been down in recent weeks and numbers have fallen heavily since Monday’s announcement by prime minister Boris Johnson urging everyone to stay at home, unless they are essential workers.

Wightlink said there is room on its larger car ferries that cross between Portsmouth and Fishbourne for all the vehicles and people displaced from the Lymington-Yarmouth route.

The suspension will reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading to Wightlink staff based at Lymington and Yarmouth and further into the community, Wightlink said.

The firmed added that they will also be able to concentrate resources on to its Portsmouth-Fishbourne service by using the skills and experience of some colleagues currently working at Lymington and Yarmouth.

Keith Greenfield, Wightlink chief executive, said: “We know suspending the service will disrupt the travel plans of some customers and we apologise, but it no longer makes sense to continue operating a route with very few customers while exposing our colleagues to risk.

“We have plenty of capacity on our Portsmouth-Fishbourne ships to carry all the essential travellers who need to cross the Solent at this time.”¬

Existing Lymington-Yarmouth vehicle bookings are being transferred to the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route. Customers can amend their tickets for free online or claim a refund.