Coronavirus 'pods' have been set up at Stoke Mandeville and Wycombe hospitals for patients who think they may have the virus.

Portable cabins have been set up at the entrance to the A&E department at Stoke Mandeville and the Urgent Treatment Centre at Wycombe Hospital - so anyone who turns up at the hospitals with worrying symptoms can be kept isolated from other patients.

John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford has also set up the pods.

Covid-19 - a member of the coronavirus family - has never been seen before. It broke out in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

So far, more than 1,600 people have died and more than 69,000 people have been infected across the world. Nine patients in England have tested positive for coronavirus.

A statement from Bucks Healthcare Trust, which runs all the hospitals in the county, said the pods have been set up as a precaution.

A spokesman said: "“Following national guidance all hospitals are putting in place NHS 111 pods at their emergency departments, so that anyone attending hospital with symptoms of the virus can be kept isolated from other patients and avoid causing unnecessary pressure in A&E.

"These Portakabins® are now in place at the A&E entrance of Stoke Mandeville Hospital and outside the Urgent Treatment Centre at Wycombe Hospital.

"They are there to divert people who might otherwise go into the emergency or urgent treatment departments.

"Over the coming weeks many more of us may need to self-isolate at home for a period to reduce this virus's spread.

"Everyone can continue to play their part by taking simple steps such as washing hands to prevent the spread of infection and calling NHS 111 first before going to the doctors or A&E if they have any concerns about or show symptoms of coronavirus.

"The most up to date information on COVID-19 can be found here: www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public

If you have returned to the UK from China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and develop symptoms of cough or fever or shortness of breath, you should immediately:

  • Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu
  • Call NHS 111 to inform them of your recent travel to the country