It has been revealed that more than a dozen people were tested for the deadly coronavirus in the first week of February at Epsom and St Helier hospitals.

A Freedom of Information request by the Sutton Guardian showed that no tests were carried out in the month of January at any hospital which falls under the umbrella of Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust.

But from the start of this month up until February 8, a total of 15 people had been tested, none of which returned a positive result. It is not known how many/if any people have been tested after February 8.

The Trust's FOI team declined a request to supply which specific hospital these tests took place at.

Their reasoning was they believe that releasing this information could expose personal details of those who underwent tests.

A message posted on the hospital site has urged people not to attend any of its facilities if they have travelled to numerous Asian countries recently.

"Following expert guidance from Public Health England, please consider the following before coming to Epsom and St Helier hospitals," the message read.

"If you have travelled to mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and have a sore throat, cough or flu symptoms, please do not come to our urgent treatment centre or our emergency departments.

"Experts from Public Health England advise that the chances of getting the illness in the UK are low.

"However, if you are worried that you may be infected with novel coronavirus, please stay at home and call NHS 111 for medical advice. If you are seriously unwell and require urgent medical attention please call 999."

This news comes days after a fake message circulated around social media claiming that a case of coronavirus had been confirmed in Epsom.

The message read: "Hi all, just to let you know there is one confirmed case of Corona Virus (sic) in Epsom A and E today and one suspected case coming in from the community to Epsom A and E today.

"There were also two suspected cases last week. These were not comfirmed."

But responding to a request for comment, a spokesman for Epsom and St Helier Hospital said this message was not true.