HUMZA Yousaf has said it’s the right time to remove Scotland’s last remaining Covid legal restrictions, as the rules on wearing face masks in many indoor places and on public transport end today.

The Health Secretary said he believed most Scots will choose to continue to wear masks in any case – and the guidance remains to do so.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland’s Sunday Show, Yousaf said the latest data showed Scotland was coming out of the current wave.

He said: “It’s been pretty relentless over the last four to five months given the emergence of Omicron and BA.2. But we can say, based on ONS data, based on case data, we are beginning to see reductions in the hospital occupancy for those with Covid although the numbers are still very high.

“Based on that we are taking the right decision by removing the last legal requirement, but replacing it with very strong guidance.”

The lifting of the face masks rule has been delayed twice in Scotland due to record levels of Covid cases and high numbers of people in hospital.

In January it was slightly relaxed in Scotland for adults taking part in organised activities with children under five.

Yousaf said he believed most Scots would continue to wear masks in high-risk settings to protect vulnerable people.

He said: “I think there will be some people who won’t and we have to accept that is the case.

“It’s been very clear we can’t keep a legal restriction in place for a minute longer than it necessarily needs to be, that we have to act proportionately when it comes to the law.”

He added: “But I’ve got great faith in the vast majority of the Scottish public.”

The Health Secretary was asked whether the lifting of all rules could mean that more people with Covid symptoms might feel pressured to go into work.

He said the “overwhelming majority” of businesses had acted responsibly throughout the pandemic.

“If you’re pressuring someone with symptoms, if they are forced to come into the workplace then they could end up infecting the entire workforce and that’s not good for your business,” he said.

The National: Health Secretary Humza Yousaf spoke as the final rules on face masks were liftedHealth Secretary Humza Yousaf spoke as the final rules on face masks were lifted

Figures released on Thursday showed Scotland had seen Covid-19 infections drop for the third week in a row.

Some 314,800 people were estimated to have had, or around one in 17. This was down from 396,800 people, or one in 13, the previous week.