FACE masks will no longer be legally required in Scotland from next week, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

But with more than 5000 cases of covid still being recorded every day the public are being urged to still take “sensible precautions” over the virus.

This includes continuing to wear face coverings in places such as indoor crowded spaces and on public transport.

In a letter to Holyrood’s Presiding Officer, ministers confirmed the remaining legal requirements relating to indoor public spaces and public transport will be lifted and become guidance only on Monday 18 April. 

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said there has been “steady progress” in recent weeks  to a “greater sense of normality and a more sustainable way of managing this virus”.

She added: “However our NHS is still under pressure and the most vulnerable members of our society can still benefit from additional measures to protect them from the virus.

“That is why although the use of face coverings will become guidance rather than a legal requirement I strongly recommend members of the public continue wearing face coverings in indoor settings where possible, and particularly when significant numbers of people are present.

“We should also all continue to follow the latest advice on hygiene, ventilation, testing and of course vaccination to protect ourselves and each other.”

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From Monday, most people without symptoms of covid will also no longer be asked to take regular lateral flow tests.

Free lateral flow devices for routine testing will no longer be available for the general population, but will be given out for certain cases where testing is advised - such as clinical care, health and social care workers and for people visiting vulnerable individuals in care homes or hospitals.

People with symptoms should still isolate and get a PCR test, which will be available until April 30.

From that date, test sites will close in Scotland and people will no linger be advised to they need to seek a test if they have symptoms. 

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