Despite dozens of people squishing their face against an eye-screening machine at a busy AA Centre, an Auckland woman says she was shocked that it wasn't cleaned once.

Vana Manasiadis stood in line for nearly 40 minutes at a busy Auckland central AA to renew her driver's license on Tuesday afternoon.

"I saw person after person position their face into the eye-testing equipment and not once was the equipment cleaned between persons," she said.

When it was her turn to use the eye screening machine, Manasiadis said she asked for it to be cleaned.


She was told that it the centre was too busy to clean the machine after every use, but after Manasiadis insisted, the machine was given a quick once-over with an alcohol wipe.

"I was told it takes too much time, but then she came out with a little alcohol wipe, it was a really quick thing. It seems like it would be such a basic hygiene thing."

Manasiadis said she found the situation especially concerning due to the recent outbreak global outbreak of the Coronavirus, which has not yet been reported in New Zealand.

"What I found shocking is that there were so many people being seen to, which was great, but given the circumstances, there didn't seem to be a pause for, what seemed to be a super quick sweep over with an alcohol wipe," she said.

"The AA not cleaning their testing equipment, that forces direct skin, eye and nose contact, hits me as being very irresponsible at this time."

But even without a global virus outbreak, it seemed unwise, considering the queues of people snaking through a central city premises.

"The CBD is chocka-full of people and that AA was so full of people, it just seems like an accident waiting to happen," she said.

Manasiadis said she was told staff at the AA had asked for the option of face masks at a recent meeting concerning hygiene for the staff.


An AA spokeswoman said the eye-screening equipment in the centres had standard cleaning measures, including a disposable strip of paper placed where the forehead rests and a void built in so that the customer's nose doesn't touch the machine.

The paper strip is replaced after each use of the machine, she said.

"The machines are fully cleaned each day, in a number of high volume centres twice a day, which has been the standard procedure," she said.

"However, we understand that there may be additional sensitivity in the community with regard to the Coronavirus and its continuing spread overseas."

"To that end we will be placing alcohol wipes next to the machines so that customers may take the opportunity to carry out any additional sterilisation measures for their comfort."

AA was continuing to actively monitor the spread of the Coronavirus and is following advice from the health authorities, she said.