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Ministry of Health not recommending face masks despite dozens of other countries doing so

The Ministry of Health is still not recommending face masks despite dozens of other countries doing so.

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However New Zealand’s low Covid-19 numbers don’t mean masks are unnecessary. Source: 1 NEWS

However, New Zealand’s low Covid-19 numbers don’t mean masks are unnecessary epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker says.

"I've had a look at the evidence and I'd have a different conclusion," he told 1 NEWS.

Prof Baker says masks are most important on public transport.

"Taiwan has just passed a law requiring mask wearing on all public transport - even though they've eliminated this virus - they've just learnt you can't take it for granted."

First Union's Jared Abbott agrees.

"There’s no doubt it does provide more protection for bus drivers and of course that’s what they want, they’ve worked through a very vulnerable period," he said.

Last week, the commercial pilots organisation in New Zealand called for face masks to be compulsory for air passengers.

New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association president Andrew Ridling said masks would reduce the need for people to be separated on planes.

"It's difficult to achieve such a high degree of social distancing unless the aircraft [loading] is so light that it becomes uneconomical to fly the aircraft."

He said airlines could give out masks at departure gates, as some American companies are doing.

"I think the idea of getting people to wear masks is all about getting some social understanding that there is no increased risk."