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Face coverings to remain in health and social care settings

13 Apr 2022 4 minute read
First Minister Mark Drakeford (Credit: Welsh Government)

The legal requirement to wear face coverings in health and social care settings will remain in place for the next three weeks.

First minister Mark Drakeford said it would offer ongoing protection to those most vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus.

However the legal requirement for businesses to undertake specific coronavirus risk assessments will end on Monday 18 April, although businesses will continue to be encouraged to take steps to operate in a Covid-safe manner.

In a statement tThe First Minister underlined the importance of continuing to take simple steps to protect public health and manage the spread of coronavirus.

He outlined five easy things the public can do, including staying at home if they have symptoms of coronavirus.

Cautious

His comments come as the Welsh Government has carried out the latest three-weekly review of the coronavirus regulations.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Retaining face coverings in health and social care settings will help to control the spread of coronavirus in places where some of the most vulnerable people in our society are being treated and live, while also helping to protect staff.

“We’re keeping this specific requirement in place while we continue with our gradual and cautious approach towards moving beyond the emergency response and away from the legal protections, which have been in place for the last two years.

“This doesn’t mean the pandemic is over. Unfortunately coronavirus is still with us – we’ve seen a spike in infections over the last month, with large numbers of people falling ill and a surge in hospital admissions.

“We hope we are beginning to turn the corner. But it’s really important we all continue to take steps to protect ourselves and each other. Everything we do can and does make a difference to the people around us – just as it has since the start of the pandemic.

“Together we can keep Wales safe and enjoy a brighter future.”

Jane Dodds. Photo Welsh Liberal Democrats

Responding to First Minister Mark Drakeford’s statement on the latest three-week review into COVID-19 restrictions leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said:

“We agree that retaining face coverings in health and social care settings is a sensible step that will help protect the most vulnerable in society and are glad to see it will remain in place.

“We are also glad to see that Wales is now moving towards living with COVID-19 and life return to some sort of normality, however, what we would like to see is that the 4th booster vaccine to be opened up to those under 75 who want to have it.

“Opening up the 4th vaccine to those who want it will help those who are either more vulnerable or nervous about things opening up to have the confidence to fully engage in everything they want to.”

Covid-19 vaccination. Picture by the Welsh Government.

The Welsh Government added that:

Vaccination is the most important measure everyone can take to protect themselves – a spring booster vaccine is available for people aged 75 years and over; people living in care homes for older adults and people aged 12 and over who are immunosuppressed. Health boards are sending invitations to all those who are eligible.

Invitations are also being sent to families with children aged five to eleven years who are now eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine primary dose.

The Welsh Government’s five simple steps to help everyone stay safe:

Stay at home (self-isolate) if you are ill or if you test positive for coronavirus.
Wear a face covering in crowded indoor public places.
Meet outdoors where possible and ensure indoor areas are well ventilated if meeting indoors.
Take additional precautions when visiting vulnerable people. Avoid meeting them if possible if you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection.
Wash hands regularly and cover coughs and sneezes.
The next three-weekly review of coronavirus regulations will be carried out by 5 May.


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