Patients in South Tyneside and Sunderland are being asked to continue following Covid-19 prevention rules whenever they are in a primary care setting, such as their GP practice, as Covid-19 infection rates remain high across the region.
National rules around face-coverings in public spaces were relaxed on January 27 but local health leaders are reminding patients that these measures are still important in helping control the spread of Covid-19.
Anyone entering a GP practice or primary care building will still be asked to sanitise their hands, keep a good social distance and wear a face-covering at all times.
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This guidance will also apply to hospitals, pharmacies, and dental practices.
Health bosses say these measures were put in place throughout the pandemic to minimise the spread of Covid-19 and protect vulnerable patients who are at higher risk of serious illness.
Dr Neil O'Brien, a local GP and Chief Clinical Officer and Accountable Officer for NHS South Tyneside and Sunderland clinical commissioning groups, said:
"Although national restrictions have eased, Covid-19 is still a major issue and is on the rise within our local communities.
"By keeping these measures in place, we will have a much better chance of continuing to see and treat our patients."
"Vaccination is the best form of protection against Covid-19. If you haven't had your vaccine yet, it's not too late to take up the offer."