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COVID: Wales to lift last remaining coronavirus rule

Wales is to lift its last remaining COVID restriction, the first minister has said.

The wearing of a face covering in health and care settings – the sole remaining legal requirement – will end on Monday, 30 May.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said Wales could look forward to a “brighter future” but urged people to keep taking steps to protect their health, such as self-isolating if they have COVID symptoms and maintaining good hand hygiene.

He said the pandemic had had “a profound impact on all our lives”, but that after a big drop in cases “we can move beyond the emergency response while still living safely with this virus”.

“I want to thank everyone for all you have done to protect yourselves and your loved ones. You have followed the rules, and you have kept Wales safe,” he added.

Mr Drakeford said ministers would continue monitoring new and emerging variants.

Wales was the last UK nation to still have legal COVID rules in force.

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Infections have continued to fall in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but have risen slightly in Scotland, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Its latest weekly survey estimates 1.1 million people in UK private households had the virus in the week to 21 May. The previous week it was 1.3 million.

In Wales, the estimated number infected was 1 in 55 people (down from 1 in 40 the week before); in Scotland 1 in 40 (up from in 45); 1 in 80 in Northern Ireland (down from 1 in 60); and in England 1 in 60 (down from 1 in 55).

COVID patients in Welsh hospitals have also fallen to under 650, the lowest since December.

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