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Hospital wards and border hotel closed as norovirus outbreak spreads

Six hospital wards in Londonderry and a luxury border hotel are the latest facilities to close due to a norovirus outbreak sweeping across parts of Ireland.

Five wards at Altnagelvin Hospital and one ward at the city's Waterside Hospital have been temporarily closed to new admissions while the Slieve Russell Hotel in Co Cavan has also shut its doors.

Admissions in Derry have been redirected to other wards.

A statement from the Western Health and Social Care Trust said: "Our infection prevention and control team are continuing to closely monitor a number of other wards and provide advice to staff."

Tony Walker, general manager of the Slieve Russell, said the temporary closure was a "proactive and precautionary" measure.

"There is presently a high incident of this infection in the community in Ireland and outbreaks have been noted in schools, residential care homes and hospitals throughout the country," he said.

"Some of our guests who visited the hotel, as well as members of our staff, have reported symptoms of this Norovirus.

"We immediately notified the HSE (Health Service Executive) and the environmental health officers and, with their advice and support, we have taken a number of preventative actions over the past week to reduce any risks relating to this virus at our premises.

"The health and safety of our staff, visitors and guests at the Slieve Russell Hotel is of paramount importance to us and we are taking every precaution to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all our patrons.

"We feel it our responsibility, in conjunction with the HSE, to minimise the possibility of spread of further infection to all our staff and patrons. It is with deep regret that we have taken the decision to close the hotel. The hotel will reopen as soon as is possible."

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