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Guidance on how you can keep safe.

Part of:
First published:
5 August 2021
Last updated:

Has COVID-19 gone away?

As recognised within our ‘Together for a safer future: Wales’ long-term Covid-19 transition from pandemic to endemic (March 2022)’ plan, Covid-19 has not gone away and will remain with us globally.

We are likely to see changing patterns of infection around the world for several years. The more people in all countries get vaccinated, the lower the risk to everyone, including in the UK.

At some point in the future, Covid-19 will be ‘endemic’, meaning it is still with us but the spread of disease has become more predictable.

Continuing with protective behaviours is important and will help to minimise exposure to and spread of coronavirus, as well as other respiratory infections and other diseases.

Do I need to wear a face covering?

Face coverings are no longer required by law in any indoor public place.

Whilst no longer a legal requirement, we strongly recommend that you  continue wear a face covering in health care settings. By wearing a face covering you will be helping to protect others around you particularly those who are vulnerable.

You may also wish to consider wearing, and you may be asked to wear a face covering in other places.

Please be respectful of other people’s choices, whether they choose to wear a face covering or not.

Businesses and other settings can also choose to ask their staff or customers to wear a face covering when on their premises, even though they are not legally required. Premises operators also need to stay mindful that some people cannot wear face coverings for a range of valid reasons.

You should also respect any decisions by individual premises as to whether or not they require face coverings when entering or within their premises.

I am not vaccinated, is it too late?

It is not too late to get your vaccination. There are still vaccination centres across Wales, many of which have walk in appointments. Different health boards have different arrangements. To find out what the arrangements are in your local health board area, here are the link details: Get your COVID-19 vaccination.

I have symptoms do I need to self-isolate?

If you have any of the main symptoms of Covid-19, you should self-isolate and take a lateral flow test (LFT) and you should continue to self-isolate until you get your LFT test result.

For further information on please see the guidance on what to do if you have symptoms.

My lateral flow test was positive, do I have to self-isolate?

If you have Covid-19, you can infect other people even if you have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Although it is no longer a legal requirement, the most effective way to avoid passing on COVID-19 infection is avoiding contact with other people and self-isolating for 5 full days and taking lateral flow tests from day 5 until you return two consecutive negative results, or until day 10 (whichever is earlier).

For further information on self-isolation please see the self-isolation guidance.

I have been in contact with a positive case, do I need to self-isolate?

The people who are at the highest risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 are the persons who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. Contacts do not need to self-isolate but should be vigilant for the main COVID-19 symptoms and follow the guidance (self isolation: guidance for people with COVID-19 and their contacts).

  • pay close attention to the main symptoms of COVID-19. If any of these symptoms develop, they should order a LFT test. They are advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people while they are waiting for their test result
  • minimise contact with the person who has COVID-19
  • work from home if able to do so
  • avoid contact with anyone they know who is at higher risk of becoming severely unwell if they are infected with COVID-19, especially those with a severely weakened immune system
  • limit close contact with other people outside their household, especially in crowded, enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces
  • wear a well-fitting face covering made with multiple layers or a surgical face mask in crowded, enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces and where they are in close contact with other people
  • wash their hands regularly and cover coughs and sneezes

They should follow this advice for 10 days after being in contact with the person who tested positive.

Health and social care and special education provision workers

You should refer to the separate guidance for health and social care workers or special educational provision workers and discuss with your manager.

Your employer may ask you to take additional tests as a precaution or be redeployed to a role where you are not facing individuals who have higher clinical risks or instructed not to attend work.

I was previously on the shielding patients list what precautions should I take?

During the pandemic, some people were placed on the Shielding Patient List. Following the high vaccination rates and the associated harms of shielding, the Shielding Patients List is due to close on 31 March 2022.

We appreciate that you may feel anxious as we move further away from legal protections to public health advice. We would like to reassure you that you are no longer at substantially greater risk from coronavirus than the general population. You are advised to follow the same public health advice as everyone else on living alongside and preventing the spread of coronavirus, as well as any further advice you may have received from your doctor.

For this reason there is no longer separate guidance for those previously on the Shielding Patient List, although we recommend anyone with underlying health conditions takes care to avoid routine coughs, colds and other respiratory viruses.

Employers have also been encouraged to talk to any workers previously on the Shielding Patient List to explain the measures being taken to ensure you are working safely.

My employer will no longer allow me to work from home, what can I do?

There is no legal requirement to work from home. However it still remains an effective public health control measure that can be used to minimise exposure to and spread of coronavirus, as well as other respiratory infections and other diseases.

Businesses and employers are being encouraged to consider home working as part of their general duties under the Health and Safety and Work legislation.

There could be a genuine business or wellbeing need that means that your job cannot be done from home. If you believe that you can work from home, you should discuss this with your employer or trade union in the first instance. If you are unable to find a resolution, you should contact your trade union or seek advice from Acas.

We continue to promote the economic, social and environmental benefits of remote working where possible.

What can I do if I am worried about the safety measures in my workplace?

We recognise that with the removal of coronavirus specific legal protections, some individuals may be concerned about their health and safety within the workplace, especially as more people return to a face to face working environment.

If you have concerns that your health and safety is being compromised at work, you should discuss this with your employer or trade union in the first instance. If you are unable to find a resolution, you should contact your trade union or seek advice from Acas.

If you were previously on the shielding patient list or are worried about being a higher risk of more serious symptoms, you should discuss this with your employer who may take appropriate action, including any reasonable adjustments that may be require. You could also speak to your trade union representative if you are a member of a union.

I’m about to travel overseas, what do I need to do?

Before you travel you must check the requirements for visitors for the country you are planning to visit.   Restrictions may be in place including how to prove your vaccination status, testing and reasons for entry. 

If you are travelling with children, this is especially important as entry requirements can differ between adults and those under 18. 

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) provide advice about travelling abroad (on UK GOV)

All requirements for those arriving in Wales from overseas have been removed.  However, we encourage all travellers arriving in Wales to take a lateral flow test, especially before they meet anyone socially.

Further information on travel can be found here.