WESTMORLAND General Hospital (WGH) is set to install coronavirus isolation pods.

NHS England has confirmed that WGH and Furness General Hospital will install priority assessment pods across their emergency departments.

The isolation pods are for patients suspected to have contracted coronavirus.

Emergency departments, urgent treatment centres, minor injury units and walk-in-centres across the country, including those at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust (UHMBT), are to get the priority pods - a contingency measure announced by the health service this week.

Pods have been introduced to prevent suspected carriers spreading the virus further upon entering emergency departments.

It means that A&E departments can direct people thought to be showing symptoms of the coronavirus away from other vulnerable patients.

The pods will be located in an isolated area of the hospital and will be suitable for frequent decontamination.

The room must contain an allocated phone with instructions for members of the public to call NHS 111, at which time an assessment will be made by an enhanced NHS 111 service advising the patients on the next steps they should take.

The isolation pods are believed to have been introduced across England on Friday. Although it has not yet been confirmed by NHS chiefs at the time of publication, UHMBT emergency departments are understood to have created isolation pods to help prevent the spread of the virus in the north of England.

So far, almost 600 people in China have died from the virus and over 24,300 people have been confirmed to have contracted it.

The virus has now spread to 25 nations. A third case was confirmed in the UK earlier this week.

The first two cases were treated in Newcastle upon Tyne and one of those two patients is a student at the University of York.

People who are concerned they may have the virus are still advised to isolate themselves and call 111.

Public Health England has asked the public to take precautions like carrying tissues, washing hands frequently, especially after using public transport, and avoiding contact with people who display symptoms.