School pupils could stop wearing masks in classes from as early as next month, a infections expert has said.  

Dr Christine Tait-Burkard has said she believed the rules on face coverings in schools may end in ‘mid February’, with those for the general public lifted "relatively soon thereafter". 

Nicola Sturgeon has announced that the remaining restrictions which had been introduced in response to the Omicron variant would be removed from Monday, with nightclubs reopening, large indoor events resuming and social distancing rules dropped. 

The Covid rules which will remain in place include a requirement for secondary pupils and staff to cover their faces at all times when they are at school. 

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Dr Tait-Burkard said the latest data was encouraging, despite record-breaking case numbers over the festive period. 

HeraldScotland:

She told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland that we were seeing "less consequence of disease but also cases dropping despite easing". 

The Edinburgh University academic added: "Even with schools returning we actually have not seen an increase in cases. 

"I would expect for schools that removal of face masks to be relatively soon, as in early to mid-February, and I'm expecting that actually even for the general public that restriction may be eased relatively soon thereafter." 

The ending of the requirement to wear a mask in certain circumstances comes as a raft of measures aimed at stopping the spread of Covid come to an end.  

Meanwhile, more Scots could return to the office from next month, with ministers “looking carefully” at the possibility of increased hybrid working. 

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said this week that returning to offices could be the next step in the Scottish Government’s phased approach to lifting coronavirus restrictions. 

Limits on the number of people who can attend outdoor events, which were imposed at the start of the Omicron wave, were removed earlier this week. 

HeraldScotland:

Further restrictions, including the need for bars to operate table service only and asking people to limit meet-ups to a maximum of three households – will end next Monday. 

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The changes were announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday, and she pledged ministers will “engage with businesses” about hybrid working from February – which could see a part-time return to the office for some staff. 

Guidance requiring people to work from home where possible has been in place for much of the last two years in Scotland, and Ms Sturgeon said people are asked to continue to do so “at this stage”.