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Face masks reintroduced for hospital visitors

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Face masks are being reintroduced for visitors to hospitals due to rising Covid cases in patients, a trust said.

East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), which runs hospitals in Ipswich and Colchester, have brought in the new rules effective from Wednesday.

Visitors must wear surgical face masks and not fabric face coverings.

Masks will be made available in dispensers at all main hospital entrances, the trust said.

The policy is also being applied to Aldeburgh Hospital, Felixstowe Hospital, Bluebird Lodge in Ipswich, Clacton Hospital and Fryatt Hospital in Harwich.

It covers all general adult wards, including maternity and children's wards.

Giles Thorpe, the trust's chief nurse and director of infection prevention and control, said: "We appreciate face masks are no longer required in many areas of our day-to-day lives, but our hospitals are not the same as a supermarket or a restaurant.

"Many of our patients are already extremely unwell and could be at higher risk of serious illness if they pick up Covid-19.

"Sadly we have seen an increase in the number of patients who have Covid-19, so we are having to enhance infection prevention and control measures in our wards and departments."

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