WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand’s government could soon make wearing masks mandatory on public transit in Auckland and on planes nationwide as it continues to investigate a new community case of the coronavirus.
Virus Response Minister Chris Hipkins says there are no plans at this point to raise the nation’s alert level after genome testing linked the latest case, a student who also works at a clothing store, with a military worker who caught the virus at a hotel where infected passengers returning from overseas are being quarantined.
Hipkins says he will recommend the mask mandate to the government Cabinet on Monday for its approval.
Health officials had asked workers in central Auckland to stay home on Friday while they investigated the case but say they can now return to work. Officials haven’t found a direct contact point between the military worker and the student, although they say the two were in close proximity in central Auckland at one point.
New Zealand has been largely successful in its efforts to stamp out community spread of the virus.