Wearing a Covid face mask will no longer be a legal requirement in many public places in Wales from today.

The change affects a range of indoor places including gyms, cinemas and theatres, community centres, and museums.

Secondary school pupils returning this week after half-term will no longer have to wear masks in classrooms.

Masks will still be a legal requirement for adults and children aged 11 and over on public transport, in health and care settings, and in all retail premises, however. -And pupils "should continue" to wear masks in communal areas in secondary schools.

The move comes ahead of the next three-weekly Covid review, scheduled for Friday March 4.

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First Minister Mark Drakeford, who has recently been recovering from coronavirus, said the Welsh Government's approach to the pandemic would continue being "cautious and careful".

The government here plans to continue with official guidance to "highlight the importance of face coverings as one means of helping keep people safe".

In England, the UK Government scrapped its mask rules at the end of January.

Wales could follow suit and scrap its remaining mask laws by the end of March "if public health conditions continue to improve".

Masks were never completely scrapped here last summer, so next month could be the first time in 18 months that there will be no rules for face coverings in Wales.

Mr Drakeford said: "We have worked hard to make sure the protections we have in place are proportionate to the public health situation and the risk of coronavirus.

"Thanks to everyone’s hard work and all their sacrifices, cases of coronavirus are falling across Wales. Now is the right time to relax the general requirement to wear a face covering in many indoor public places.

"But we will keep the legal requirement in place in retail, public transport and health and social care, which are widely used and essential sectors.

"This is part of our cautious and careful response to the pandemic. We will continue to consider the latest scientific and medical evidence to inform our approach.

"Later this week I will be setting our longer term plans to manage the pandemic, as we carry out the regular three-week review of the regulations."

The outcome of the next review of regulations will be announced on 4 March, when all the remaining measures at alert level zero will be reviewed.

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