Nicola Sturgeon drops Covid face mask requirements after nearly two years

Wales also scrapped their remaining Covid-19 restrictions for businesses today

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Nicola Sturgeon will be dropping the legal requirement for Scots to wear masks in public spaces from next week, the Government confirmed yesterday.

After almost two years, the relaxation of rules will come into effect from Monday with the law now turning into guidance.

It comes as Wales, today, also scrapped their remaining Covid-19 restrictions for Welsh businesses, but will keep facemask rules in place in healthcare settings.

Ms Sturgeon said: “In recent weeks we have seen steady progress as we move back to a greater sense of normality and a more sustainable way of managing this virus.

“However, our NHS is still under pressure and the most vulnerable members of our society can still benefit from additional measures to protect them from the virus.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon
A face mask being thrown into a bin
A face mask being thrown into a bin

“That is why although the use of face coverings will become guidance rather than a legal requirement, I strongly recommend members of the public continue wearing face coverings in indoor settings where possible, and particularly when significant numbers of people are present.”

As of Wednesday, Scotland had recorded 28 coronavirus-linked deaths and 5,513 cases in the past 24 hours, according to latest figures.

It means the total number of people who have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 has risen to 11,734.

The number of cases in the figures published on Wednesday is up from 4,958 the previous day.

Public Health Scotland (PHS) data on Wednesday showed that 2,110 people were in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19, down 10 on the previous day, with 23 in intensive care, no change.

It comes as Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said indicators are “positive” that Scotland is exiting the current coronavirus wave but warned that it will not be the last the country will have to deal with.

Today, a new Covid-19 vaccine developed by Valneva is approved in the UK.

The UK’s independent medicines regulator is the first in the world to approve the Valneva product, MHRA said in a statement.

It is the sixth Covid-19 vaccine to be granted an MHRA authorisation.

It came as the number of deaths involving coronavirus registered each week in England and Wales continues to rise, although levels remain well below those reached during previous waves of the virus.