WALES has recorded its highest daily number of Covid-related deaths for more than a year as rules around mask-wearing and self-isolation are no more.

Public Health Wales figures show another 27 coronavirus-related deaths have been recorded nationwide.

That is the highest daily rise since February 2, 2021, when 33 Covid deaths were recorded in a day.

More than 2,000 new Covid cases have also been reported in Wales today.

The figures, which are for the 24-hour period up to 9am last Friday, come as most of the nation's remaining legal Covid requirements have been lifted, in a move confirmed by Mark Drakeford on Friday.

From today, you do not have to wear a mask in any public places except health and care settings.

That means there is no legal requirement for shoppers and public transport passengers to cover up.

And anyone who develops Covid symptoms or tests positive for the virus will no longer have to isolate, by law.

The figures reveal some 2,206 new infections across Wales, including 522 in Gwent's Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area - the highest of any region in Wales.

The most recent figures on weekly cases rates also show Blaenau Gwent has the highest infection rates of any council area in Wales.

However, Mr Drakeford has encouraged people to do the "right" thing and continue to try and protect themselves and others.

On Friday, when he announced the rule change, he likened the move to other viruses including measles.

“We have to manage it like we would other conditions," he said at the time. "If you have measles, you wouldn’t go to work with it. That’s not law, it’s what is right.”

MORE NEWS:

Businesses in Wales will continue to carry out coronavirus risk assessments for their premises, but otherwise today also marks what is probably the closest thing to normality for traders since March 2020.

Nearly one in every four people who got tested in the 24-hours to 9am on Friday received a positive result - the highest rate since mid-January.

And infection rates are slowly climbing back to the levels seen in early February, when the Omicron variant was waning.

Here are where the latest cases have been reported:

  • Blaenau Gwent: 66
  • Caerphilly: 151
  • Monmouthshire: 79
  • Newport: 134
  • Torfaen: 92
  • Anglesey: 57
  • Conwy: 44
  • Denbighshire: 67
  • Flintshire: 103
  • Gwynedd: 60
  • Wrexham: 76
  • Cardiff: 253
  • Vale of Glamorgan: 125
  • Bridgend: 71
  • Merthyr Tydfil: 41
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf: 218
  • Carmarthenshire: 118
  • Ceredigion: 22
  • Pembrokeshire: 115
  • Powys: 66
  • Neath Port Talbot: 52
  • Swansea: 123
  • Unknown location: 13
  • Resident Outside Wales: 60

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales this morning (Monday), Matthew Hunt, the director of Filco supermarkets, said the change had been welcomed by some - but not all - staff.

"The feedback from the team is overwhelmingly [of] relief we're not going to have to wear these [masks] day in, day out anymore," he said.

"Certainly, from my point of view there's an awareness that there could be an anxiety around some of those in the staff team who perhaps see the value and safety in wearing the masks - and that's also from a customer point of view".

He said mask wearing was "such a polarising issue".

"You either approve of mask wearing and see the value of that, or you're totally against it," Mr Hunt said. "There's very little middle ground in it."

Business risk assessments generally could mean some companies decide to recommend, or even insist, on continued mask-wearing - but this would be a rules imposed by a private firm, not the government.

Mr Hunt said this policy did create "conflict and confusion" for businesses.

"It would be nice if it wasn't there," he said, adding that he didn't think it was "possible" for his own firm to enforce continued mask-wearing.

"The majority of people will say that that's had its day and we're not prepared to continue with that," he told the BBC.

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.