Visits to all health and social care sites have been suspended across the Highlands to help shield vulnerable groups from coronavirus.
NHS Highland has implemented the suspension with immediate effect with exceptions to partners during childbirth, if a person is accompanying a child in hospital or for patients receiving end of life care.
Where exceptions have been made visitors are instructed not to move into any other areas within the hospital to help prevent the spread of the disease.
A NHS Highland statement said: “These are not normal circumstances and it is with great reluctance that we take these steps but they are steps we have to take to protect our patients, our staff and our wider communities.
“There will be exceptions to the rule which include a birth partner during childbirth and if you are accompanying a child in hospital or for patients receiving end of life care.
“For these exceptions, there must be agreement in advance from the nurse or midwife in charge of the ward or the care home manager.
“Where exceptions have been made visitors will be asked not to visit any other areas in the hospital once their visit is over.
“We appreciate that this is already an anxious time for families, carers and our health and social care staff will keep clear lines of communication open.
“These measures will be reviewed regularly and relaxed when it is safe to do so. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.”
Anyone who is unwell and/or exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19 – a new, persistent cough and fever or high temperature should not visit any patients in a hospital or care home setting.