HOSPITALS up and down the country are setting up isolation pods to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

NHS hospitals have all been told they must have the pods on site after a ninth case of the virus was confirmed last night.

Pods have already been set up at the Royal Sussex County Hospital and Worthing Hospital after five people in the area tested positive for the illness, including a healthcare worker at the latter.

Now other medical centres across the country have followed suit, with shipping containers, portacabins and a tent being pictured at hospitals in London, Eastbourne and Dorset.

A letter sent from NHS England to hospital directors two weeks ago said they should all have the pods operational by February 7, the Mail Online reported.

The letter said said: “As part of managing care in emergency departments, trusts are being asked to organise a ‘Coronavirus Priority Assessment Pod’, which will mean people with symptoms indicative of infection will get quick assessment, while other patients also continue to get appropriate care.”

It also said there must be clear signs directing people to the pods, but people must be referred there first.

The pods are intended to keep people who believe they could have contracted the virus away from other patients at the hospital.

After they were set up at the Royal Sussex General Hospital, a Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust said: “In line with national guidance Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust has set up priority coronavirus assessment pods at Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

“These are in buildings which are separate to the hospitals’ emergency departments and will ensure people who need testing do not come in to A&E.

“The pods will only be used to test people who have been assessed and referred by NHS111. If you have any concerns please contact NHS111 who will give you further advice. Please do not attend A&E.

“Our staff are skilled and experienced in treating patients with infectious diseases and colleagues have worked hard to ensure we are prepared and can respond as needed.”