Hospital mask rule ends as emergency law expires


Hospital mask rule ends as emergency law expires

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The wearing of face masks will no longer be legally required in Welsh health and social care services from Monday.

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First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed the ending of the last of Wales' Covid rules, which have been in place in some form since March 2020.

Ministers said the public health situation had continued to improve over the last few weeks.

Wales was the last part of the UK with Covid restrictions still in place.

However most of the rules that affected people's day to day lives, such as wearing face masks in shops and on public transport and self-isolation rules, ended in March.

The number of people estimated to have Covid-19 in Wales has fallen for the sixth week in a row.

However the Welsh government said the NHS continued to experience "emergency and pandemic pressures".

Guidance will remain in place strongly recommending the use of face coverings in health settings to help protect the most vulnerable.

Announcing the decision in a news conference, Mr Drakeford said authorities were planning to deal with Covid like "any other seasonal illness" from now on.

But he warned measures were in reality "on hold" in case of another wave - with two new variants already being monitored by health officials.

"We have learned, time and again, that this virus can behave in ways that are neither expected nor predictable," he said.

He said that the Welsh government was "ready to bring back testing and contact tracing", should that be needed.

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