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All Aucklanders to wear face masks, says Ardern

All Aucklanders to wear face masks, says Ardern

All Aucklanders to wear face masks, says Ardern

Ahead of the Auckland Super City returning to Level 3 lockdown at midday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is advising all Aucklanders to wear face masks or coverings when in public.

“While we are not mandating the general use at this stage, we are strongly encouraging the use in Auckland,” says Ardern, speaking at a media conference Wednesday morning.

For the rest of New Zealand where social distancing is not possible, face masks or coverings are recommended.

Ardern says 5 million masks are being released to support distribution into the areas they are needed.

Earlier today, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said the government is working with lawyers on a legal notice to make it compulsory for people to wear masks in public in Auckland.

Face masks are mandated on all flights out of Auckland.

“Customers are welcome to bring their own, or these will be provided by the airline onboard,” the airline said.

“Air New Zealand recommends that its customers travelling from other ports also wear masks, however this will not be a requirement.”

The government confirmed four new cases of COVID-19 outside of quarantine and managed isolation on Tuesday evening.

All four cases are from the same family in South Auckland, but the source of their infections is unknown.

One case travelled to Rotorua on Saturday

Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield says the South Auckland family are in strict self-isolation.

Following interviews, it is revealed one of the cases travelled to Rotorua on Saturday while she was symptomatic.

There are testing sites available in Rotorua and another pop-up centre is to open tomorrow.

Dr Bloomfield says they are following the movements of the cases and testing all contacts.

Two Auckland workplaces are connected to the cases with three symptomatic colleagues awaiting test results.

“We are prepared to test tens of thousands of people in the coming days,” says Dr Bloomfield.

However, this does not mean random tests, says Ardern. She asks people who have no symptoms, no connection to managed isolation or quarantine (MIQ) or border do not rush to get tested and advises everyone to call Healthline if they show symptoms.

Due to an influx in calls, Ardern recommends directing general enquiries to the website.

Rest homes in level 4 lockdown

As a precautionary measure, all rest homes in New Zealand have been placed into level 4 lockdown for three days as of Wednesday 12 August.

Residents at two Christchurch rest homes have returned negative tests after concerns over flu-like symptoms.

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