Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) will ask patients and visitors to wear a face covering in its hospitals after July 19.

The trust runs Queen’s and King George hospitals in Romford and Goodmayes.

The government confirmed this week that almost all legal restrictions on social contact will be removed on Monday, including the legal requirement to wear coverings.

Kathryn Halford, chief nurse for BHRUT, said: “The safety of our staff and patients remains our top priority. Our staff will continue to wear their face masks after Monday July 19. We will ask patients and visitors to wear a face covering.

“It remains vital that we do everything we can to protect our staff and patients, many of whom are more vulnerable to Covid.

"Sadly, we are not yet free from the risk of Covid. Cases are rising in our boroughs and some people have not been vaccinated.

“We are aware some of our staff and patients may feel anxious about the relaxation of rules, and we want to reassure them that we are doing everything we can to keep our hospitals safe.”

North East London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said NHS visitor guidance will stay in place across all health services including hospitals, GP practices, dental practices, optometrists and pharmacies to ensure the safety of patients and staff.

Dr Jagan John, the CCG's chair and a Barking GP, said: “Wearing a face covering and keeping a safe distance from others continues to play a vital role in protecting all our patients and staff.

“As restrictions are cautiously lifted from Monday, it is essential that everyone continues to play their part in limiting the spread of infection – particularly with a number of critical care patients being treated for Covid-19 in our local hospitals.

“This also highlights the need for anyone who has not already had a Covid-19 vaccination to come forward for theirs as soon as possible.”