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Covid-19: New Zealand makes masks mandatory on domestic flights, Auckland public transport

Reuters WELLINGTON | Updated on November 16, 2020

The rules take effect on Thursday for travellers older than 12 on public transport in and out of Auckland

New Zealand has made masks mandatory from Thursday for users of public transport in Auckland and on all domestic flights, with authorities saying the time was right for such a move after a new coronavirus infection reported in the community.

Last week's positive test in a student, after authorities had twice managed to almost stamp out community-transmitted Covid-19, was linked to a known case from a border isolation facility, suggesting less risk of a wider unseen spread.

“Adding mask-wearing to the toolbox of measures against the virus is a sensible precaution and the time is right to make the move,” Health Minister Chris Hipkins told on Monday.

The rules take effect on Thursday for travellers older than 12 on public transport in and out of Auckland. Taxi and Uber drivers must also wear masks, although their passengers have been exempted.

Also exempt are children going to and from school, Hipkins said, adding that police could enforce the rules as a last resort.

Covid-tracing app

Last week, the government said it was also considering mandatory use of a Covid-tracing app before entry to large events and hospitality venues.

Also read: New Zealand marks 100 days without Covid-19 transmission

With 1,645 infections and 25 deaths, New Zealand ranks among the lowest in the world in terms of virus fallout.

Published on November 16, 2020

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