Expert's tips for safe picnicking in Auckland’s lockdown

Source: 1News

An aerosol chemist is reminding Aucklanders that they need to social distance and wear face coverings to picnic safely in Alert Level 3. 

University of Auckland’s Dr Joel Rindelaub said while the chance of Covid-19 transmission outside is relatively low because of natural ventilation, “low risk doesn’t mean no risk”. 

Rindelaub said there was evidence of Covid-19 transmission overseas when people spent an extended amount of time close together. 

“There is still a possibility of transmission outdoors, especially within the first two metres,” he said.

“If we recall, we have these tiny little aerosol particles. They kind of float everywhere and they’re a bit of a nuisance. 

“But the big fat droplets can actually splash into your face if you’re within those two metres. So, you still need to socially distance and it’d be really important to wear a mask too.” 

The reminder comes more than two weeks after the Government outlined Auckland's phased “roadmap” to easing Covid-19 restrictions

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health named its first outdoor location of interest in the Delta outbreak: a park in New Lynn, Auckland. The park has since been removed as a location of interest. 

People who visited Shadbolt Park on Portage Road between 7.30pm and 8.30pm on October 15 were initially told to self-isolate for 14 days and get tested for Covid-19. That was in contrast to the advice given to people at most other locations of interest, which was to self-monitor for symptoms. 

When Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins was asked about the Shadbolt Park exposure event on Breakfast Wednesday morning, he said he wasn’t able to say much because he hadn’t been briefed on the details. 

The Director-General of Health on Wednesday afternoon clarified the park had been removed from the Ministry of Health’s website. 

“Having looked further into the event, which was being managed by a [public health unit] elsewhere in the country, it's now been assessed as being an exposure event with a small number of people who are contacts," Dr Ashley Bloomfield said.

Bloomfield said all contacts related to the park were now known and are all isolating. 

As Auckland’s Delta outbreak grows, some public health units outside of the city are being used to support the management of cases and contacts. 

The Ministry of Health told Newsroom in early October it was able to handle about 6000 new contacts a day with its surge capacity - a number that hasn’t changed since the start of the outbreak despite case numbers continuing to increase