Visits to St Bernard’s Hospital and Ocean Views will resume next week and visitors will 'need to fully abide by the new measures in place to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19'.

In order to safeguard and protect patients, the below criteria will be introduced to enable visitors as from Tuesday 16th March:

• Visiting will be limited in order to reduce the overall number of visitors to the hospital and/or to the individual; 2 named designated visitors per inpatient for the duration of the inpatient hospital stay.

• Only 1 of the designated visitors will be permitted during the allocated visiting hour per day.

• Designated visitors are required to be vaccinated with 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and must show the GHA vaccination card as proof.

• Wards will need to record the designated visitor’s name in line with Contact Tracing guidance.

• The visitor and patient must remain at least 2 meters apart at all times.

• Visitors who have returned from international travel to countries with a quarantine period will not be allowed to visit until the isolation period has finished and the individual has had a negative swab test for COVID-19.

• Visitors will not be permitted to visit any other areas or patients within the hospital.

It may become necessary to introduce complete temporary visiting restrictions within departments/wards if this is deemed necessary by the GHA.

Visitors are reminded to please enter the hospital via the Main Entrance where their temperature will be taken. Visitors must also sanitize their hands and wear a mask or change it if advised to do so and must follow public health advice at all times.

Visitors must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) on wards, which will be provided at the entrance of all wards.

Visitors must strictly adhere to the following hand washing guidance, using the disinfectant hand sanitizer provided or soap and water where available:

• on arrival to the hospital on entering the ward/department

• when putting on or taking off any personal protective equipment (PPE) or face coverings

• on leaving the patients bed space

• on leaving the ward or department

• on leaving the hospital building

• as soon as you get home

Minister for Health and Care, the Hon Samantha Sacramento, said: ‘I am fully aware that visiting family and friends who are in hospital is very beneficial for the health and wellbeing of patients. It gives me great pleasure to, once again, following Public Health advice, be able to announce the reintroduction of visitors to GHA wards, albeit with tight restrictions in place. It is important to understand that the reason these measures are being introduced is because people potentially infected with COVID-19 can have very mild or no symptoms and can transmit the virus to others without being aware of it. I can reassure families and friends that these measures will not continue for a moment longer than the Public Health professionals deem it necessary.’