PATIENTS at a GP surgery in Hereford are being told they will still have to wear masks when heading to their appointments, despite not legally required to after July 19.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday the legal requirement to wear face coverings in public places would end, but the Government would expect and recommend that people wear masks in crowded and enclosed spaces.

Hereford Medical Group, which runs the surgery in Station Approach, said patients would still need to wear a mask, socially distance and follow other measures, even after the July 19 lockdown easing.

It said the number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in Herefordshire was rising, with official data showing the infection rate in the county was increasing.

The figures, for the seven days to July 8, were based on the number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in either a lab-reported or rapid lateral flow test,.

The rate is expressed as the number of new cases per 100,000 people.

Herefordshire's infection rate has risen to 99.6 cases per 100,000 from 88.2 the week before.

Hereford Medical Group said: "Throughout the pandemic HMG have strived to make our surgeries as safe as possible for our patients and staff.

"Over the past few weeks, in Herefordshire, we have seen an increase in people testing positive for Covid-19.

"From July 19 patients will need to wear a mask, socially distance and follow all other infection prevention and control measure we have in place.

"We understand this may be frustrating as the rest of the county ‘unlocks’ but we know that when people come to us they are sick and vulnerable, and some cannot receive the Covid-19 vaccination due to medical reasons.

"We must continue to protect our patients and staff, and we feel it would be wrong as a healthcare organisation to not take these small precautions that can protect people.

"HMG has come so far in trying to minimise the impact of Covid-19 and we are sure you understand that we need to keep our surgeries as safe as we can for all patients and staff."