Auckland, Oct 12 (IANS) Majority of residents of Auckland, New Zealand’s worst-hit city by the Covid-19 pandemic, do not wear face masks while using public transportation, experts revealed on Monday.
According to the experts, while only 30 to 40 per cent were using face coverings, reports The New Zealand Herald newspaper.
Auckland Transport (AT) spokesman Mark Hannan has said that less than half of their passengers are using face coverings, but usage varied across the network.
“We want all Aucklanders to feel safe on our buses, trains and ferries and face coverings can help people feel confident about going out and about.”
While there are no requirements for people to wear a mask on public transport under level 1, however, it is encouraged, the Ministry of Health said.
“Continuing good public health measures will keep you and others safe,” a Ministry spokesperson said.
“Our guidance on the use of masks and face coverings will continue to align with current alert levels and cases of community transmission.”
University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker hoped the government would go to alert level 1.5 to further socialise mask use.
“We know that transport systems are a problem,” The New Zealand Herald quoted Baker as saying.
“It does seem like a missed opportunity to go straight to level 1 and not retain mask use in specific settings.
“We wanted to retain some restrictions on how the virus could be transmitted if there were some remaining cases,” he added.
Buses and trains continue to be spot-checked, with surfaces being sanitised and an enhanced cleaning regime across their facilities and fleet.
Antimicrobial protection fogging, or spraying, is included in the cleaning process.
New Zealand’s overall coronavirus caseload stands at 1,871, with 25 deaths.