At midnight on Tuesday, the entire country except Auckland is significantly approaching normal when Alert Level 2 goes into effect.
The ‘level 2 delta’ means that face coverings will be required in most public places.
Indoor hospitality venues will also be limited to 50 people, and outdoor venues will be restricted to 100 people.
Microbiologist Dr. Siouxsie Wiles answered our questions about why the new mask rules are so important to combat the Covid-19 Delta variant.
“The virus is airborne, so it is transmitted through the air and it is transmitted through the shared space … so increasing that space indoors is really limiting the number of people inside. Level 2, if a case leaves and enters the community, there is a possibility of mass spread with Delta. “
If I go for a walk and a group of people pass by, should I put on the mask?
“It depends on where the wind blows, you could have a gust of wind that if someone infected blows it on you or if you are infected they send it to someone else … For the good of all, wear a mask when you are away from home is a good idea “.
If I go out and have forgotten my mask … is holding my breath a good idea?
“It may help … but the important thing about masks is that, if you have Covid-19 and you don’t know it, they will help you reduce the amount of virus you are spreading and if you are the recipient they will help reduce the amount you are receiving. They are for everyone to consider because any of us could be contagious. At alert level 2, the hope is that no one is contagious … but they are a way that if there is an infection in the community it will help reduce the amount of transmission that occurs. Try to think that you are not protecting yourself from someone else, but you are also protecting others from you. “
How many times should I wear a mask before washing or throwing it away?
“That’s tricky. Surgical masks are supposed to be single use (although there is some research on sterilization methods) … for cloth masks, it’s good to use only one wash of a kind so you can alternate them, but I used mine for a few days without washing it. “
If you met someone with Covid-19 but you have a mask, you come home and you touch your mask and then your face … can you do it that way?
“All the transmission that we know of so far is due to the inhalation of virus particles. That way you can get other viruses, so it’s certainly not something that I would say is not a risk. It’s another very good reason to wash your hands. Before you touch your face, try to avoid touching your face. Because you will not only avoid Covid-19, but also many other infections. “
What are the best masks to get?
“Any mask is better than none, I think research shows that surgical masks are better than cloth, but cloth is better than nothing.”