Face coverings to still be worn in all NHS England settings after July 19 – chief nurse confirms

Staff, patients and visitors in all NHS settings must continue to wear face coverings and observe social distancing, England’s chief nurse has said, despite coronavirus restrictions being eased from Monday.

Boris Johnson confirmed that from July 19 many of the remaining measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus will end.

But Public Health England said such infection prevention measures and visiting guidance are set to continue across all health services.

These include hospitals, GP practices, dental practices, optometrists and pharmacies, to ensure patients and staff are protected.

Staff, patients and visitors will be expected to continue to follow social distancing rules when visiting any care setting, as well as using face coverings and other personal protection equipment.

Ruth May (pictured), chief nursing officer for England, said: “Face coverings and social distancing measures will remain in place across healthcare settings so that the most vulnerable people can continue to safely attend hospital, their GP surgery, pharmacy or any other healthcare settings for advice, care and treatment.

“And it is important for the public to continue to play their part when visiting NHS and care settings to help protect our staff and patients, particularly those who may be more vulnerable to infections.

“As restrictions are lifted in many places on Monday everyone has a part to play in helping to control Covid by getting vaccinated and acting responsibly.

“It is vital that in healthcare settings we do all we can to reduce the risk of infection for those working in our services and those who need our care.”

It comes after the Government announced an end to legal coronavirus restrictions in England such as the two-metre social distancing rule, capacity limits on social gatherings and working from home.

However, some venues such as supermarkets and other retailers are continuing to ask customers to wear face coverings.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has also said face coverings will be required on Transport for London services.

Health minister Jo Churchill said: “Face coverings have played an important role in healthcare settings, helping protect vulnerable patients, staff and visitors by limiting the spread of this deadly disease, and this guidance remains in place.

“We expect patients, visitors and NHS staff to continue using face coverings and maintain social distancing in all healthcare settings as we cautiously lift restrictions on Monday.

“I urge everyone to play their part and think of those more vulnerable than you when visiting your local hospital or GP surgery.”

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