ANEURIN Bevan University Health Board will not introduce stricter rules on hospital visitors wearing face coverings unless there is a spike in local cases.

The health board currently recommends following the Welsh Government advice where visitors who are shielding will have to wear “a medical mask,” but visitors who are not shielding “may choose to wear a face covering, particularly if they are in a vulnerable group.”

However, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in North Wales is now “actively encouraging” visitors to wear face masks.


A Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board spokesperson said: “We are now actively encouraging patients, the public and staff to wear face coverings or masks in public areas of all health board sites.”

They added this advice was in addition to maintaining good hand hygiene and observing social distancing guidance.

But with the number of daily cases much lower in the Gwent area, the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said they will only bring in these measures if there is a local outbreak.

A spokeswoman said: “The rate of Covid-19 within Aneurin Bevan University Health Board is extremely low and as such we continue to follow national guidance, as outlined on the Health Board website.

“We would review this position in the event of any infection incidents or outbreaks locally and are continually reviewing our Covid-19 status across Gwent.

“Therefore, the health board is able to make and take timely local decisions which are situation-dependent.”

Torfaen's Member of the Senedd, Lynne Neagle, called on the Welsh Government in her Argus column to introduce stricter measures on face coverings for hospital visitors.

“I recognise face coverings are not a silver bullet but I think they are a key part of a wider strategy that includes measures such as social distancing, hand-washing and community testing," said the Labour MS.

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: “The evidence remains clear the most effective way to protect yourself and others is to follow social distancing rules, avoid touching surfaces and your face, and wash your hands regularly.

“Face coverings are not a substitute for these measures, but in some circumstances where it may be difficult to stay two metre away from others, we advise the use of face coverings.”

“Action to contain any spread will always be taken at the most local level possible and any national direction would always be a last resort,” she added.