Nurses are obliged to deal with unidentified visitors alone.

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When nurses at Auckland City Hospital are already stretched tight, they are forced to police visitors who violate bubble rules and do not wear masks around the wards.

Auckland City Hospital

Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Under alert level 4 the DHB was allowing two people to visit per patient but that has changed to just one person for a maximum of two hours.

Nurses Organisation health and safety delegate Ben Basevi said the policy has been changed slightly, but they’re still too stretched to make sure the policy is complied with.

“I think there may be slightly reduced numbers, but the monitoring problem is exactly the same.

“Eventually you’re going to need a person outside the wards that actually registers the visitor that’s meant to be there, and check that they’re the right visitor.”

Basevi said there should be security guards inside the ward to take the pressure off nurses who are short-staffed and anxious.

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There has also been a mystery case reported at Middlemore Hospital in the past few days.

Retail abuse

Retailers say they have also faced abusive and aggressive behaviour, when they have asked customers to wear a mask.

Retail New Zealand is launching a public awareness campaign to encourage shoppers mask-up after noticing high levels of non-compliance.

Retail New Zealand chief executive Greg Harford said wearing a mask in store helps to keep retail teams, customers and the community safe.

He said this was the first weekend that customers can shop again under alert level two and he is asking them to wear a mask in-store and to treat staff with respect.

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