Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand Prime Minister, said on Friday that she was crafting her own face mask to support the efforts of preventing the spread of COVID-19. This raises the profile of the essential public health measure which is set to become mandatory across the island nation next week.

With a population of 5 million, New Zealand has done considerably well in preventing the community of COVID-19 on owing to stringent lockdown measures. However, restrictions were reimposed in the country's largest city, Auckland, following a fresh outbreak this month.

Taking Matters Into Own Hands

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden Wikimedia Commons

With restrictions to scale back on Sunday, Ardern said in a Facebook post she was taking matters into her own hands before masks become compulsory on public transport across the country the following day.

At a meeting with local community health leader Dave Letele, "one of the things we talked about was face coverings, and how to make your own at home," Ardern, who faces a general election in October, wrote in the post.

Not Holding Back on the Glitter

"I had a go at making one," she added, alongside a photo of a patch of fabric, scissors and two elastic hair ties. A follow-up video showed her crafting a simple red mask, the colour of her Labour Party.

"That's my first time crafting," she said. "I'm going to pull out my glitter gun later." About 150 people have been diagnosed as part of the cluster that originated in Auckland, which is home to 1.7 million people, but daily new case numbers have slowed to single digits this week.

On Friday, New Zealand reported five new cases in Auckland and seven more in quarantine after arriving from overseas. The country has so far recorded just under 1,400 COVID-19 cases, including 22 deaths.

(With inputs from agencies)