July 20, 2022
Masks for marae as new Covid variant emerges
COVID19 Response Minister Ayesha Verrall has added marae to the list of community providers, testing stations and pharmacies who can supply free RATS and mask packs as the government tries to rein in the wave of Covid and flu sweeping the country.
Minister Verrall says wearing masks can reduce new cases of the virus by as much as 53 per cent.
Good mask wearing is particularly critical over the remaining winter months when the virus is more likely to pass in indoor settings.
People don’t need to be unwell or have symptoms to get the packs.
“We have to make sure there are no barriers to good mask use including the cost. We will make the, more and more available including N95s for medically vulnerable people. So the onus is on us to make sure there are no barriers to that and also to make sure there is a very clear explanation to the public that masks are just critical right now,” Minister Verrall says
The government is also providing 10 million child-size masks available for year 4-7 students and up to 30,000 masks a week for all other students and school staff, alongside extra funding to support better ventilation over winter.
There were 10,424 community cases of Covid 19 reported yesterday and 21 deaths, with 788 people in hospital.
The seven-day rolling average of community case numbers is 9,528.
Health authorities also reported the first two community cases in Auckland with the Omicron BA.2.75 subvariant, which may be slightly more transmissible than BA.2.