Visitors will not be able to visit Dorset Healthcare's inpatient units until further notice, apart from in exceptional circumstances.

This includes its community hospitals in Bridport and Weymouth.

This includes exceptions for patients receiving end-of-life care and children, who will still receive visits from their parent or appropriate adult.

The trust says it has taken this 'difficult step' in accordance with NHS England’s update and the Government’s most recent coronavirus advice which is clear: stay at home.

Other than to shop for basic necessities such as food or medicines, for other medical needs, for absolutely unavoidable travel to work and for one form of exercise a day, we must all remain in our homes.

A spokesman for the trust said: "Our main focus continues to be to protect everyone. This step will not only allow us to protect those in our care and provide the safest possible service, but also help us to keep their loved ones in our community healthy.

"We understand how important visits are and the impact this will have. It is not a decision made lightly and our focus will now be on doing everything we can to support our patients to keep in touch with their family and friends using technology.

As with all these precautionary measures, we will be strictly following national guidance and working with our partners in Public Health and the wider NHS to review their use. We will ensure that changes are clearly communicated but for the time being, visitors will be turned away from our units.

"Thank you for your understanding and cooperation at this challenging time."