Three people who tested positive for coronavirus have died at hospitals in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area in the past few days.

They are the first recorded fatalities for people with the virus across the conurbation.

It comes after it was revealed three further patients who had tested positive had died at Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester in the past week. The first death was reported there last weekend.

It means there have been seven deaths in total in the whole of the Dorset area.

A statement released by health chiefs said that one person died on Wednesday, March 25, while under the care of The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals, while a further two people died at Poole General Hospital the following day.

No more details were released about those who had died.

The statement said: "As confirmed by NHS national announcements, a patient, who tested positive for the coronavirus (Covid-19), sadly passed away at the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals on March 25, 2020. Two patients sadly passed away at Poole Hospital on March 26, 2020."

A spokesperson for Poole Hospital and The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals said: “Our thoughts and condolences remain with the patients’ families and loved ones.

"Out of respect for their privacy we will not be commenting further.”