The National Health Service is warning people to be vigilant about air pollution this winter after a spike in pollen and airborne pollutants were found in New Zealand’s capital city.
The coronavirus has already hit New Zealand, and some of the most intense pollution has been felt in Auckland.
The country’s air quality index (AQI) is at dangerously low levels, and has been in the “severe” category since Friday.
The city is experiencing a combination of high levels of CO2 in the air and pollen, which is believed to be responsible for an increased risk of respiratory illness.
There has been a surge in coronaviruses in the past month, and it is likely to continue this winter.
The peak of pollution this week was measured at nearly 6,000 AQI in Auckland, according to figures published on Monday.
That’s more than twice the AQI level that was recorded in February, and nearly six times the average in the previous four years.
In an emailed statement, the Health Service said: “People are being asked to be extra vigilant in the coming days and weeks because there is an increase in the number of cases of COVID-19.”
The peak in pollen levels on Sunday was at about 1,400 per square metre in Auckland compared with an average of about 600 a day in February.
Pollen has a similar chemical composition to CO2 and is also more dense, so it has been found to have a greater impact on health than other pollutants.
A spokeswoman for the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority said it was working with the health authorities and health authorities in other parts of the country to deal with the increase in CO2.
“The main thing is to try and get as many people to leave the city as possible, as this will help us monitor the situation and prevent any further spikes,” she said.
The AQI has already been in “severe”, which means it’s been rated as having more than 500 per cent of its maximum reading.
In Wellington, the peak in CO 2 levels was at almost 1,200 per square meter on Sunday.
In Hamilton, the AQ I was also higher than 1,000, but only at about 8 per cent, according the National Centre for Atmospheric Research.
In the south-east, air quality was also “very bad” on Sunday with the AQ level at about 667 per cent.
Auckland has been particularly hard hit by the virus, with coronaviral cases doubling in the city between August and October.
It’s believed the virus was being spread by the city’s new homeless population.
The National Health and Medical Research Council says the number one concern for people in Auckland is respiratory illness, including COPD, which can lead to pneumonia and breathing difficulties.
“We know from our own work, that people who are homeless are at risk for respiratory illness and are also more likely to be at risk of pneumonia,” Dr John Anderson, chief medical officer of the health authority, said.
“Our concern is that it could be spreading across the city and potentially impacting on people.”
There has also been a rise in coronavalent fever cases in New England.
In New Hampshire, a coronavivirus alert has been lifted.
In Washington state, coronavaccine cases have more than doubled over the past year.
The CDC is urging people in areas where COVID cases are high to avoid outdoor activities and stay indoors until coronavirots are contained.
Affected areas include New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Maryland and Virginia.