Norovirus closes wards at Southampton Hospital as people are asked to stay away from A&E

Eight wards are affected in total as people are urged to stay away

Several wards are now closed at Southampton General Hospital following an outbreak of norovirus, as the bug continues to put pressure on UK hospitals.

Eight wards and forty beds are now affected at the hospital, with four wards entirely shut down. Visitors have been asked to stay away unless absolutely necessary.

People suffering from sickness and diarrhoea have also been urged to stay away from A&E, and have instead been encouraged to call NHS Direct on 111.

Bassett Green Primary School, also in Southampton, experienced an outbreak of the vomiting bug and closed a day earlier than planned for the Christmas holidays.

Dr Sarah Schofield, of the West Hampshire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "The principals for any diarrhoea and vomiting illness is to have basic hygiene - be fanatical about your hand washing - and to drink plenty."

Infection control teams at Southampton General Hospital expect to reopen one of the closed wards later today.