Covid-19 guidance in Scottish care homes has been further relaxed due to "a sharp drop in coronavirus infections".

Facemasks will no longer be a part of the guidance issued to social care staff and visitors from next week. 

The Scottish Government attributed the drop in coronavirus cases to the vaccination programme as it relaxed its guidance.

More than 12 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been received by Scots across the country. 

Social care minister Kevin Stewart said the move was the “latest step in our path to recovering from the pandemic”.

Nevertheless, masks and face coverings could still be recommended in certain circumstances, such as if there is a local outbreak of the virus.

Individuals will also continue to be able to wear a mask if they choose to do so.

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Care providers have been told to implement the new guidance from September 14 onwards – or earlier if they are ready to do so.

Speaking as the change was announced, Mr Stewart said: “Our phenomenally successful vaccination programme has driven down infections and saved the NHS from untold pressures.

“Removing the need for facemasks in social care settings including care homes is the latest step in our path to recovering from the pandemic.

“This will make communication and relationships easier in care settings, benefiting mental health and promoting the rights and choices of those working in and using social care.”