New Zealanders should prepare for a resurgence of Covid-19 by keeping face coverings handy, a leading epidemiologist says.
It comes as Melbourne introduced a $200 fine today for anyone not wearing a face mask in public. The state of Victoria recorded 484 new cases of Covid-19 yesterday.
While it's currently a much different situation in New Zealand, with no community transmission having been detected for months now, Otago University professor Michael Baker told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning that masks "should be part of our resurgence planning".
"We're just not used to wearing [masks], but they're actually a great precaution to have available if we get a resurgence in New Zealand," he said. "Every New Zealander should have a mask at home and know how to use it and when to use it.
"The trouble is unless we build it into our planning now, it's going to be very difficult to suddenly start doing it in an outbreak."
He has since called for an official inquiry into the country's Covid-19 response, adding that we are "in it for the long haul now".
Dr Baker said it could take at least six to 12 months, perhaps longer, before we have vaccines and "decent treatments" against coronavirus.
"We should pause now, just reflect on what we need to get us through the next stages," he said.