VISITS to Hawick Community Hospital and care homes in the town can now resume.

Health chiefs banned visitors last month as a precautionary measure – as the number of cases began to rise.

But now individual care home operators can decide whether or not to reopen their doors to the public.

An NHS Borders spokesperson said: "To date NHS Borders' Test and Protect team have been in contact with 198 people identified as ‘close contacts’ connected to this [Hawick] outbreak, who have been given appropriate advice and are self-isolating.

"Following a review by the joint Care Home Oversight Group on the advice of the joint NHS/SBC incident management team, visiting to care homes in the Hawick area and to Hawick Community Hospital can now resume.

READ MORE: Coronavirus outbreak in Hawick grows to 22 cases

"As a result, designated visitors of patients currently being cared for in Hawick Community Hospital have been contacted and advised of this decision.

"It is important to note that it is up to individual care home operators as to whether or not they choose to allow visiting again.

"Visits to SB Cares’ Deanfield facility have been reinstated and the families of residents advised."

The decision was announced at the same time as the health board revealed three more cases have been recorded in Hawick.