Government tells all New Zealanders have a face mask handy - What you need to know

With a second wave of Covid-19 hitting parts of Europe and another round of lockdowns being imposed across the ditch, New Zealanders have been strongly advised by health officials to prepare in case of another outbreak here.

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Everyone is urged to have a face mask in case another Covid-19 outbreak hits. Source: Seven Sharp

And while there hasn't been any community transmission for nearly 100 days, there's one piece of equipment we all need to have at the ready.

For the first time the New Zealand Government has now recommended we all have supplies of face masks for everyone in the household.

Auckland University medical professor Des Gorman was asked by TVNZ1's Seven Sharp tonight for his opinion on why the Government has done a U-turn on masks.

"First of all, the science is now more robust in terms of how protective masks are and the other thing is there’s a growing awareness that community transmission is probable and we should assume it’s going to occur.

"It’s a matter of being precautious and taking measures. We should be ready for it rather than being alarmed," he said.

Dr Gorman also gave his views on what type of mask Kiwis should be picking up.

"Most masks are OK. If you’re going to be in a high-risk environment you might need an N95 respirator type of mask, but most fabric masks will do the job."

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There’s no indication they’ll become compulsory, but it’s critical to be prepared if another Covid-19 outbreak hits, health officials said. Source: 1 NEWS

He also says using them properly is important.

"My strong recommendation is people need to go online, perhaps to the Ministry of Health website, to learn how to put them on, how to take them off and how to care for a mask because you need to do it properly."

The Minister of Health today said every Kiwi should have a face mask in their "emergency kits" in case of an outbreak of community transmission of Covid-19.

Mr Hipkins said face masks would be required to be worn if the country moves back to Alert Level 2.

This would help "keep public transport working" and be used as an "extra line of defence" when physical distancing was not possible, he explained.