Visitor restrictions at the region's hospitals have been extended due to "continued high rates of Covid-19 infections".

Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group announced the decision on Wednesday, which will affect all local hospitals and trusts, except acute mental health wards.

The news comes amid a 75pc surge in Covid cases in seven days in Norfolk which public health bosses say is likely because of the relaxing of restrictions nationally.

Cath Byford, chief nurse of the NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We know that continuing to extend restrictions on visiting will be disappointing and it is not a decision we have taken lightly.

"We understand how important the support of family and friends can be for patients in their recovery while they are in hospital, however, our number one priority is to keep everyone safe."

Exceptions will be made on compassionate grounds, such as those receiving end of life care, maternity services and children.

Mrs Byford added: “Restricting visiting is always a very last resort for us.

"We appreciate the co-operation of our patients and their families during this challenging time and we will monitor and review this guidance in a fortnight and will keep the public informed of any changes.

“We continue to encourage local people to help us by continuing to use infection prevention practices by washing your hands and wearing face coverings in all healthcare settings.

"We know that COVID-19 hasn’t gone away so it is so important we continue to follow these prevention methods.”

On Thursday, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn said it is treating 120 people with coronavirus and was receiving between 10 and 15 new patients every day.

While most do not require intensive care, staff said the increase was having a knock on effect on services.

Public services in the region have started to feel the impact of rising cases, with schools and hospital staff experiencing high levels of absences.

According to most recent figures made available, more than 1,000 new cases of the virus are being detected in the region, with 1,138 new infections reported each day on average.