A Norfolk MP has reassured residents that the recently announced closure of a town's NHS unit will only be temporary, as its staff are redeployed to a hospital battling rising coronavirus infections.

Duncan Baker, Conservative MP for North Norfolk, released a statement after it was announced over the weekend that Cromer and District Hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) would close from Monday so that staff can be diverted to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).

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Mr Baker said: “Having spoken to the Chief Operating Officer at the NNUH, I entirely comprehend the immense pressure our local hospital services are under.

“This closure at Cromer will be temporary, to enable maximum medical resources to be directed to the emerging situation in Norwich.

“With circa 200 COVID-19 patients in the NNUH and a rising number of staff either sick or having to self-isolate, all efforts need to be targeted to the NNUH.

“These hospital numbers are now far higher than the first wave of the pandemic. Cromer will still offer a limited service for outpatients, including chemotherapy and dialysis."

Mr Baker also urged people to continue following the rules, and echoed comments made by mayor of Cromer, Richard Leeds, who said on Saturday that he had been “disturbed” by the number of people he had seen in the town on walks over the festive period.

“Let us be under no illusion - our medical services are working flat out to save patients,” said Mr Baker.

“It is absolutely paramount that more than ever we follow the Tier 4 guidance and I would urge everyone to stay at home, only leaving for an authorised reason,” he added.

According to Public Health England (PHE), in the seven days up to and including December 29 the number of coronavirus cases in Norfolk per 100,000 people was 372.8, up from 262.3 the previous seven days - a new record in the county.

A spokesperson for the NNUH NHS trust said that before patients with minor injuries in the Cromer area travel anywhere else for treatment, they “should contact 111 first who will advise. It may be that a pharmacy, out of hours GP, walk-in centre or A&E is best for their condition.”