Pleas to cover up to stop spread

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS - SHAN­NON DEERY, TAMSIN ROSE

ALL Vic­to­ri­ans in lock­down have been told to wear face masks to help slow the spread of coro­n­avirus.

Amid soar­ing daily in­creases in case num­bers, the state gov­ern­ment on Fri­day changed its ad­vice over the use of face masks and re­quested any res­i­dent of metropoli­tan Mel­bourne and Mitchell Shire to wear them if out­side and un­able to phys­i­cally dis­tance.

Premier Daniel An­drews said it would not be manda­tory to wear a mask but urged peo­ple to heed the up­dated ad­vice, par­tic­u­larly when on pub­lic trans­port, in taxis or Ubers, and when shop­ping.

“This is not some­thing that is go­ing to be for a week or even six weeks, masks in those cir­cum­stances where you can’t main­tain dis­tance will be a fea­ture of our re­sponse to the pan­demic for the fore­see­able fu­ture — for many, many months,” he said.

“It is our re­quest of you, it’s not com­pul­sory.”

The rec­om­men­da­tions ap­ply to adults over 18.

Chief Health Of­fi­cer Pro­fes­sor Brett Sut­ton said wear­ing masks at school wasn’t fea­si­ble. “Kids can’t nec­es­sar­ily wear the masks in the same way that adults can,” he said.

Con­sid­er­a­tion will be given to ad­vice around wear­ing face masks at work af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with unions and in­dus­try groups.

The gov­ern­ment has moved to source two mil­lion re­us­able masks, and one mil­lion sin­gleuse masks, to boost sup­ply.

But Mr An­drews said homemade masks or scarfs would be ap­pro­pri­ate.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union had been lob­by­ing for the use of face masks.

“I am pleased that the gov­ern­ment has fi­nally backed in our call for the trav­el­ling pub­lic to wear masks when trav­el­ling on pub­lic trans­port,” RTBU branch sec­re­tary Luba Grig­orovitch said.

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