The question being answered by the rest of the country right now is: “Should I wear a mask?”
The short answer from the federal government, is yes….but, no. There are a number of exceptions at the moment stipulating the reasons to wear masks, and to whom are not required.
The Australian Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, recommends wearing a mask for one of the following reasons:
- If you are on a train or a bus.
- If you are in close proximity in a hotel.
- If you’re near people that you don’t otherwise know.
Going forward, face mask wearing has now been considered an important element of national protection, and should be worn where you cannot guarantee social distancing from others.
Evidence has proved that face masks provide a line of defence against airborne virus transmission by protecting individuals from inhaling droplets or unknowingly spreading the infection if they are asymptomatic.
With reports of the number of new cases rising by the day in Victoria, that have been linked to the coronavirus clusters in Melbourne, there are now 24 aged cared facilities staff and residents that have been impacted by the infection.
First responders, medical and healthcare workers treating the critical COVID-19 patients in our hospitals across Melbourne, are now seriously urging Australian citizens to take responsibility for the prevention of further community transmission.
"We, the HEALTH CARE WORKERS are not your frontliners any longer. We are your LAST LINE OF DEFENSE. You, my fellow people, are the frontliners now. The war has shifted to the community and it is up to you. This cannot be won in the confines of the hospital."
Dr. B. Calinawagan
Not only has there been confusion around the compulsory wearing of face masks, but there are also concerns about what mask is most effective and if there is enough stock available to keep up with consumers.
In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Victorian government has stockpiled vital COVID-19 medical supplies including masks, gowns, gloves and hand sanitisers for their healthcare workers.
Victorian Minister for Health, Jenny Mikakos, said their warehouse based in Melbourne prioritises distribution of PPE medical supplies across the state’s health system and quarantined areas with the most critical need.
What about the general public and businesses looking to buy protective face masks and essential COVID-19 PPE supplies?
Due to the demand for surgical masks and P2/KN95 masks being in short supply worldwide, they are generally reserved for healthcare providers, whilst reusable cloth or fabric masks are being widely recommended for public use.
In preparation before enforced mask-wearing becomes mandatory, there is potential for a strain on face mask supplies in pharmacies and stores trying to keep up with demand from the community buying off-the-shelf options.
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