It comes after University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust, which includes Southampton General and Princess Anne maternity hospital, has decided to reintroduce mask wearing throughout all areas of the hospital, due to a sharp rise in the number of Covid-19 cases.
A statement from Southampton said: ‘The transmissibility of the Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 is proving to be very high and once again we need to do everything possible to stop the spread of infection in order to protect our vulnerable patients, staff and the services we provide.
‘We are asking our community to help us achieve this.
‘The impact of this surge in Covid cases is being felt across all areas of our hospital, with 92 inpatients having tested positive. We have also been forced to close 19 hospital bays, putting beds out of action, because of contact with infectious patients.
‘The spike in cases is also affecting our staff, with a significant number of absence due to Covid-19 related illness.
‘Against this backdrop, we are continuing to see unprecedented levels of demand across our hospital and our emergency department (ED) continues to be busier than ever.’
A spokesperson for Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust said: ‘Since the beginning of the pandemic, health and care staff at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust have continued to wear facemasks in clinical settings including on the wards, outpatient departments and in the emergency department.
'In line with national guidance from NHS England, health and care staff are in general not required to wear facemasks in non-clinical areas such as offices, corridors and social settings, unless this is their personal preference or there are specific issues raised by a risk assessment. We are monitoring this situation closely, but have not made any changes yet.’