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Face mask laws end in Scotland

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P

eople are no longer legally required to wear face masks on public transport and in most indoor public spaces in Scotland as the rule moved into guidance on Monday.

However although the final coronavirus restriction in law has lifted, the Scottish Government is still strongly recommending that people continue to wear face coverings where appropriate as Covid-19 continues to spread.

Meanwhile people without symptoms of the virus are no longer being asked to take regular lateral flow tests as of April 18 as part of changes to the test and protect system.

Free lateral flow devices (LFDs) for twice weekly routine testing are no longer available for the general population.

However the tests will continue to be free for any purpose for which testing continues to be advised – for clinical care, health and social care workers and for people visiting vulnerable individuals in care homes or hospitals.

The rule easing came the day after Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was reported to police after footage showed her apparently breaching the country’s Covid face mask law while on the council election campaign trail.

A video posted on social media appeared to show her not wearing a mask during a visit to a barber’s in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, on Saturday.

Police Scotland confirmed it had received a complaint and said it was being assessed.

The SNP said the First Minister was invited into the barbers during an outdoor visit on the street.

A party spokesman said: “Within a few seconds, she realised she hadn’t put her mask back on and immediately put it on.”

Ms Sturgeon has previously said she is confident most people will continue to wear masks after the rules ease.

Speaking on Saturday, she told the PA news agency: “I’m not saying every single person will (continue to wear masks), people will make their own decisions.

“But I think, just as the vast majority of people have abided by all that we’ve asked of them over the last two years – not because politicians have been asking or the law necessarily has required it – because people understand that the best way to protect themselves and protect those they love is to abide by these really sensible, basic precautions against the spread of a virus.”

The First Minister said Covid-19 was “still out there”, adding: “Wearing a face covering is a bit of protection you can give, not only to yourself but to the people you might be around – including people who might be more clinically vulnerable.”

A weekly Covid-19 survey produced by the Office for National Statistics found that around one in every 17 people in Scotland had Covid-19 in the week up to April 9, a drop on recent weeks.

Until the end of April, people with symptoms should still isolate and get a PCR test.

From April 30, test sites will close and people with symptoms will no longer be advised that they need to seek a test.

The public health advice for people who feel unwell will be to stay at home until they feel better, to reduce the risk of infecting other people.

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