TWO hospital wards have been partially closed after more suspected cases of norovirus.

The two 'bay areas' have been shut at Royal Blackburn Hospital.

It comes after Ward C9, at the hospital, has re-opened after it was closed to new admissions after a patient was diagnosed with Norovirus on New Year's Day.

East Lancashire Hospitals Trust said the closure is standard procedure and normal practice to prevent norovirus spreading.

The trust declined to say what wards were affected or how many patients are suspected to have norovirus because of 'patient confidentiality'. 

Tony McDonald, deputy director of operations for the trust, said: "Our infection control team continues to monitor all wards closely, with deep cleaning taking place to further protect our patients and staff."

Mr McDonald also warned people who want to visit friends and family members in hospital who have been sick or had diarrhoea within the last 48 hours to not visit the hospital, except in a genuine emergency.

He added:“We are also urging all visitors to wash their hands with soap and water before and after visiting a ward. Hand gel situated throughout the wards must also be used.

“Visitors are currently being limited to two per bedside at any one time. We also ask that visitors do not sit on patients beds but use the visitors chairs provided.”

Norovirus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting, is one of the most common stomach bugs in the UK and is also known as the winter vomiting bug.

Norovirus usually clears up by itself in a few days.