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Hospitals around UK reintroduce mandatory face masks amid COVID surge

Published on 05/07/22 at 10:45am

Patients, visitors and staff are once again being told to wear face masks in hospitals across the UK, due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.

From today, 5 July, anyone going to sites run by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will be asked to wear a face covering. Additionally, all of Wales’ seven health boards are either insisting or encouraging the use of face masks during hospital visits.

Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, has reintroduced a ban on visitors due to an increase in cases. The Welsh hospital paused visits for patients from Tuesday 5 July, except for end-of-life situations, and masks must now be worn by all on the site.

Hywel Dda University Health Board in west and mid Wales is the latest to require use of masks, following a rise in COVID-19 infections. The board has also announced that outpatients must attend appointments alone, unless the need the support of a carer or relative, and all patients must be tested for COVID-19 before they are admitted to the hospital.

Aneurin Bevan asked people to stay away from its hospitals unless “absolutely necessary” due to “extreme pressure”. Wales has seen a rise in infections in the last month with one in 30 people testing positive, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Most recent figures still show 88% of patients testing positive for COVID-19 are primarily being treated for something else.

Trust bosses for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals say both COVID-19 cases in the community and hospital admissions are on the rise.

Medical director Dr Jennifer Hill commented: “We have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and, although we are sorry that we have had to take this step again, we believe it is important for us to act given the increase in COVID-19 incidence.

“We ask everyone coming onto our sites to please make sure they wear a mask.

“We are very grateful for the continued public support and will continue to keep the situation under review.”

Ana Ovey

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