MONKEY World has closed its doors to members of the public amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Dr Alison Cronin issued a statement which said the "safety and wellbeing of our rescued monkeys and apes is, and always will be, our first priority."

The rescue centre based in Wareham closed its doors to the public as of 5pm on Tuesday, March 17.

The statement said: "To protect our rescued monkeys and apes, and our dedicated team during the ongoing coronavirus situation, we are taking steps to limit potential exposure of our primates in every way we can.

"As you are aware, the safety and wellbeing of our rescued monkeys and apes is, and always will be, our first priority.

"To this end, we have taken the decision to close the park to the public, effective from 5pm today, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. All scheduled Monkey World events, guided tours and bookings are cancelled until further notice. Our booking staff will be in contact with anyone who has a booking of this nature.

"We will also not be in the position to accept any donations of blankets, towels, socks, bottles or other secondhand items for enrichment until further notice.

"Whilst we apologise for the inconvenience this may cause, we hope you understand that the welfare, health and wellbeing of our rescued and endangered primates is of upmost importance to us and this of course also includes reducing the contact risk to our Primate Care Staff and the rest of the team at the park.

Dr Cronin added: "At present all our monkeys and apes seem fine but we are moving ahead with enhanced quarantine procedures in order to try to prevent the spread of the coronavirus throughout the park.

"Very little is known about how this virus will affect our non-human primates so we are doing everything we can to protect them.

"We will keep you updated as to how everyone is and hope that you will continue to support our primate rescue and rehabilitation work through our Amazon Wish List or by donating fruit and vegetables through supermarket delivery services.

"Your support and understanding means the world to us. We wish you and your families the very best during this difficult time and we will keep you in touch with our family."