One of Australia’s top health officials has encouraged members of the public to wear masks in coronavirus outbreak zones where physical distancing is difficult.
According to today’s report in The Age, Deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth said in situations where there is community transmission, such as in greater Melbourne, the most important thing is “to decrease movement, decrease mixing and increase the distance between people … but if you are in those areas and you find that you are unable to do that, then mask-wearing should be encouraged”.
Doctors and epidemiologists are pushing for the widespread use of masks to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Australia after Victoria recorded 134 new cases and infections were detected among people who traveled from Melbourne to NSW and the ACT.
Members of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee’s infection control advisory group met on Wednesday to debate the issue after the World Health Organisation issued a statement acknowledging “evidence emerging” of the airborne spread of SARS-CoV-2.
Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Air Quality at the Queensland University of Technology, Professor Lidia Morawska, who wrote the letter, told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald “outdated” medical views about how viruses spread had been holding back the adoption of masks in Australia.
“This dogma was built on research conducted in the 30s and 40s,” Professor Morawska said.
She said more recent research had shown a single infectious person could spread the virus through an entire unventilated room.
“That made the case for masks clear,” she said.
The latest comments from Dr Coatsworth comes of the back of recent updates to directions from the World Health Organisation, which we reported on in early June 2020.
- Our face masks have been deliberately designed using Australia’s highest quality cotton, which was originally recommended by the WHO as the best fabric to capture droplets, whilst remaining east to breathe through.
- None of the fabrics used in our design are stretchy
- Our face masks are able to be washed at 65 degrees and above
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- Our face masks have an internal filter pocket for the addition of a critical filter medium during wearing.
FloatPac ships all masks Australia wide with free freight, and manufacture all of our masks at our Melbourne manufacturing facility.