EastEnders' fan favourite Sonia Fowler has officially left Albert Square in a shock twist.

The iconic character, who is played by Natalie Cassidy, left the BBC soap to see her daughter Bex, played by Jasmine Armfield on Friday night.

Over the past few weeks fans of EastEnders have watched as Sonia struggled to keep up with the demands of working on the front line as the pandemic takes hold.

Sonia was left in tears during Friday's episode after another patient died of Covid-19.

Keen to make sure she was also looking after her own health, Ash Panesar, played by Gurlaine Kaur Garcia, suggested Sonia took some time out.

Sonia Fowler is one of EastEnders most iconic characters

In a shock twist, the Walford regular is now set to go and visit Bex who is India.

However, while unconfirmed it is thought Sonia will only be away from the show for a short period of time and not indefinitely.

"The character of Sonia will be off screen for a number of weeks in the new year but it is only to facilitate the normal breaks that actors from the show often take," an insider told Metro.co.uk at the end of last year.

They added: "Scenes coming up will show Sonia’s temporary leaving story, but she is not leaving the show for good and will be back in the not too distant future."

Speaking to her ex Martin in the Queen Vic during Friday night's episode, Sonia explained she needed to leave Walford.

Sonia said: "Things haven't been great.

"I feel like I need to hit the reset button."

Despite her exit being explained on screen, fans were left puzzled by the sudden change in tone.

Taking to Twitter, one viewer wrote: "Sonia going to India in lockdown how did she manage that. #EastEnders."

Another added: "Sonia you shouldn’t be travelling to India there’s a pandemic on love #EastEnders."

Meanwhile, a third chimed in: "Sonia you should know there is a pandemic and can't travel #EastEnders."