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NHS Grampian encouraging continued use of face masks after law change

By Jonathan Clark

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FACE coverings in Scotland will soon change from law to guidance – but NHS Grampian is encouraging people to continue to wearing them.

From Monday, the general public will no longer be required to wear face coverings in the majority of indoor spaces – including on public transport and in shops and offices.

However, surgical masks will still be in use in hospitals and healthcare buildings for patients, staff and visitors. And NHS Grampian is continuing to encourage their use more widely.

Susan Webb, Director of Public Health, said: “I want to emphasise continued use of face coverings is still strongly recommended on public health grounds.

"There are more than 14,500 people in Grampian who were on the shielding list at the beginning of the pandemic. We believe as many as 5000 of them are still minimising their contact with others due to concerns about Covid-19.

"Discussions with vulnerable communities have highlighted anxieties about face mask usage by the general population time and again.”

Head of Health Intelligence, Jillian Evans, said: “Although there are some signs that Covid-19 infections may be slowing, they are likely to continue at high levels well into the spring period.

"A small proportion of those infected will require hospital admission and over the last few weeks, we, along with all health boards, have seen an increase in the number of people in hospital with Covid-19. This virus is still circulating freely.

"Omicron, as the current dominant variant, may not be leading to serious illness in most cases, but it does still cause disruption to work life, school life, and just life in general.

"Choosing to wear a face covering is an act of kindness for your local community."

NHS Grampian is continuing to support the Distance Aware scheme. This provides lanyards and pin badges to those who wish to continue with physical distancing.

Susan Webb added: "I would encourage everyone, from individuals to businesses, to be on the look out for these and to respect the wishes of people wearing them."

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