Wales to drop mask-wearing law in shops and on public transport from Monday

People in Wales will no longer be legally required to wear masks in shops and on public transport from Monday and the legal obligation to stay at home after a positive Covid test is to be scrapped.

Mask wearing will still be mandatory in health and care settings, however, and businesses will have to continue to carry out coronavirus risk assessments and put “reasonable” mitigation measures in place.

It had been anticipated that the Welsh government would keep measures such as mask wearing in many public places after saying earlier this week that Covid was spreading rapidly. But on Thursday night, the first minister, Mark Drakeford, said Wales was “firmly” on the path towards living safely with coronavirus.

He said: “We have seen an unwelcome rise in coronavirus cases across Wales, mirroring the position in most of the UK. We have carefully considered the very latest scientific and medical evidence and we need to keep some legal protections in place for a little while longer, to help keep Wales safe.

“Throughout the pandemic, we have taken a gradual and cautious approach as we have relaxed protections. We are firmly on the path towards leaving the emergency response to the pandemic behind us and learning to live with coronavirus safely.”

The requirement to self-isolate will be halted and moved into guidance. A £500 self-isolation payment to support people will continue to be available until June.

According to figures released by Public Health Wales earlier on Thursday, the seven-day case rate per 100,000 people is 424. There were two more suspected Covid deaths.

The next three-weekly review of coronavirus regulations would be carried out by 14 April, when the remaining legal measures would be re-examined.

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