MASK and face covering restrictions in Wales could be eased in just a matter of weeks.

Speaking at a Welsh Government covid press conference earlier today (Friday, January 21), first minister Mark Drakeford set out the next steps in the nation’s route out of pandemic conditions.

Along with the potential removal of the covid pass system, a major talking point was the situation regarding the wearing of face masks in public settings.

It comes after it was announced that England’s restrictions are being all-but removed by UK prime minister Boris Johnson next week.

From January 26, most ‘Plan B’ rules in England are being scrapped, and it will no longer be a legal requirement to wear face coverings on the other side of the border.

Those in Wales hoping to ditch the masks will have to face a longer wait for similar changes however, with Mr Drakeford stressing that here, the Welsh Government is "following the science".

Continuing, he said: “It's the considered, science led, step by step approach that we think has helped to keep Wales safe during the pandemic."

But, when asked, Mr Drakeford set out a potential timeline for when rules regarding face coverings and covid passes in Wales could change.

Read moreWelsh Government press conference

When might face mask rules change in Wales?

In Wales, large scale changes to the covid rules and restrictions have typically been made on a three-week review cycle, and this looks set to continue.

This means, the next review will take place on Thursday, February 10, ahead of a press conference announcing the changes the following day.

Speaking earlier today, Mr Drakeford revealed that up for discussion during the next review is face masks, and whether or not the need for them in all settings might be lifted.

However, he stressed that for many people, continuing to wear the coverings might prove to be a decision for them to make individually.

He said: "We'll review it on February 10.

"If the advice is that things are so good that you don't need them, we'd respond to that advice.

"I think there will be many people that on an advisory basis, might find themselves in crowded public places and choose to go on wearing masks as they will feel safer for it."

He added: “I would certainly consider that myself."

It comes as Boris Johnson announced that masks would no longer be mandatory in England.

What about the covid pass?

The timeline for the potential removal of the covid pass follows a similar timeline, with February 10 the key date in potentially seeing a change.

But, while the UK Government is outright removing the pass, the first minister said that the Welsh Government is taking a more measured approach.

Mr Drakeford said: "(We will) definitely review it as part of our review on February 10.

"Three weeks is a very long time with regards to covid. If things continue to improve then there would be an active debate on whether the covid pass is still a proportionate part of the measure that we want to have in place.

"We'll keep doing what we always do - we'll look at the measures, we'll ask for advice on whether the covid pass is still part of our defences and if the answer is 'yes' we'll continue with it.

"If things have improved to the point when it's no longer part of necessary measures then we'll respond to that advice as well."