POWYS residents are being encouraged to continue wearing masks when visiting their local GP practice or surgery.

Although no longer a legal requirement, Public Health Wales strongly recommends that members of the public continue to wear a face covering in health care settings.

And Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations (PAVO) have followed suit, following advice issues by Welsh doctors.

GPs are calling for the public to be mindful that, at times, you may still be asked to wear a mask when visiting your local surgery.

PAVO health promotions facilitator Gareth Ratcliffe said: “From today (June 20) we would kindly ask patients presenting with any respiratory condition (even if testing negative on LFT) to continue to wear a face covering when attending the surgery.

“This is both to protect them but also other vulnerable patients and the staff. Covid-19 is still affecting health teams and impacting services within our community and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

“We have small teams and losing members of staff who are infected with the virus and need to isolate in line with current regulations for health care staff puts a strain on our teams to continue to deliver service to all of the community.

“Wearing of face masks continues to be under review at a local level, and although currently not a legal requirement we are very conscious of the uncontained spread of Covid-19 and would ask everyone to support us with this when requested.”

Rules on wearing face masks in hospitals and GP surgeries in England have been largely scrapped under new NHS guidance. Instead, organisations will now draft their own policies.

Despite the rule change, a number of hospitals have called on patients and staff to continue to wear masks on their sites. However, some GP surgeries and health centres have already taken down signs telling patients to wear masks on entry.