ALL HOSPITAL visits in Gwent have been suspended as the health board tries to "reduce the spread" of coronavirus.

In a statement released today, the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board - which covers Newport, Torfaen, Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent and Monmouthshire - said it was introducing the measures following the government's "partial lockdown".

Only birth partners for a maternity, a nominated parent for child patients or neonates and will be allowed to visit.

"Discretion" will also be given for those approaching "End of Life".

The statement added: "It is with regret that we will now have to suspend all hospital visiting on all our sites to protect our patients and reduce the spread of infection."

It comes as the number of patients who died after testing positive for the coronavirus reached 22 in Wales.

Public Health Wales also confirmed that the number of confirmed cases in Gwent passed 300, with over 600 across the country.

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The health board say they are "increasing" administrative support on the wards to "manage the anticipated additional telephone calls".

However, they "strong advise relatives" to either phone loved ones directly or use social media.

Patients can access free Wi-Fi to support “Virtual Visiting”.

"We recognise this decision may cause concern, but it has been made in the interest of patient safety. We value and need your support during this difficult time."