THE rules around face coverings in health and social care settings are due to change next week.

From Tuesday, May 16, there will no longer be a requirement for people to wear a face mask in hospitals, GPs offices or in care homes.

The rules on face masks were introduced as a measure to combat the spread of coronavirus.

This latest change applies to staff, patients and visitors, however, masks may still be required in certain clinical settings in order to control the spread of infection.

Chief Nursing Officer Alex McMahon said: “Due to the success of vaccines in protecting people, and the availability of treatments, now is the right time to revise the advice on wearing masks in health and social care settings and return to pre-pandemic guidance.

“We recognise that some staff may have concerns around the withdrawal of this guidance and would expect organisations to undertake individual occupational health assessments and risk assessments as appropriate.

“We continue to be vigilant in our response to COVID-19 and encourage everyone to make sure they are up to date with the boosters available to them. We are grateful for the tireless work of health and social care teams during these challenging times and to everyone who has helped them by adhering to the guidance.”

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, Scotland has recorded 2,173,650 positive cases of the virus (from PCR and LFD tests), and from data collected by Public Health Scotland on May 9, there have been 18 newly reported positive cases of COVID-19 in the Borders.