MINOR injury units (MIUs) in Malvern, Evesham and Tenbury will be closed for six weeks so staff can be "redeployed into community hospitals".

The move comes as Covid-19 continues its grip across the nations with more than 46,000 new cases reported today (Monday, January 11) and more than 32,000 people currently hospitalised by the virus, 22 per cent up on the same time last week.

A similar measure was taken in Malvern and Evesham in the build up to Christmas but that was for a matter of days. This time the departments will be shut until the end of February.

"During this time staff in the units will be redeployed into community hospitals which are experiencing higher than normal demands," a statement read.

"The decision has been agreed by the local health and care system to increase staffing capacity in community hospitals, which is part of series of measures in response to pressures being felt across the local healthcare system.

MIUs at Kidderminster Hospital and Treatment Centre, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and at the Princess of Wales Community Hospital in Bromsgrove, which is open Monday to Friday 8am-8pm and from noon-8pm at weekends, remain unaffected.

Phil Shakeshaft, MIU lead for Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, said: “Our MIUs remain a key part of our urgent care system and the three units will reopen as soon as we can, but it is important that we use our staff in the areas they are needed most at the moment.

"MIU staff are trained and qualified nurses and they will be able to use their skills within our community hospitals caring for patients who need it most so they can recover and return home as soon as possible.”

The statement says the decision "will be regularly reviewed".

The units at Malvern Community Hospital and Evesham Community Hospital usually open from 9am-9pm. At Tenbury Community Hospital it is 9am-5pm.