Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has asked Melburnians to wear masks in public when they can’t social distance, in a major shift in health policy in the state and across Australia.
- Until now, experts in Australia have recommended wearing a face mask only if you are sick
- But the rise of community transmission in Melbourne has triggered a change
- The Chief Medical Officer and Victorian Premier said people in Melbourne should wear a mask “if you cannot guarantee physical distancing”
Speaking after Friday’s National Cabinet meeting and the announcement the state had recorded 288 positive COVID-19 cases, Mr Andrews said he had ordered 2 million reusable masks to be provided to the public, with another 1 million single-use masks to be given to at-risk people first.
He said he predicted the advice on masks would stand for “many, many months”.
“Whether you are in an Uber or a taxi or if you are on public transport [or] even for the shopping … [it] is our request of you, it’s not compulsory, we are simply asking that if you can, wear a mask where you can’t distance,” he said.
“Now is the time to move to that, now is the time to do that common sense thing.”
Masks are not deemed necessary in schools, or inside the home, according to Mr Andrews.