Backing for mass mask handout in Victoria

Jolyon Attwooll

9/08/2022 6:32:24 PM

The RACGP President has lent her support to a Victorian Government initiative to supply millions of masks at key locations around the state.

A worker handing out N95 masks
A worker handing out N95 masks to passengers at Southern Cross Station in Melbourne in January this year. (Image: AAP Photos).

A Victorian Government scheme to supply millions of N95 face masks at key transport hubs and testing sites has been backed by RACGP President Adj Prof Karen Price.
On Tuesday, the Victorian Government announced it would distribute more than 3 million masks, including at popular stations.
The Andrews government said over the next 4–6 weeks everybody presenting at a testing site for rapid antigen or PCR tests will received one box of 10 masks ‘along with instructions on how best to wear them to reduce transmission.’
The masks are also set to be given out via community organisations including at multi-faith events, Aboriginal gatherings and by disability service providers.
‘In addition, more masks will be available from PTV hubs and staffed train stations while authorised officers and some V/Line conductors will carry masks with them to hand out as needed,’ a Victorian Government spokesperson said in a statement.
The move was described by Professor Price as ‘just what the doctor ordered’. 
‘The expert advice is clear that masks limit community transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses including influenza,’ she said.
‘I know that wearing a mask isn’t fun and can be slightly uncomfortable but remember that taking this small step can help drive down COVID-19 numbers across Victoria.
‘It’s not just about protecting yourself, by wearing a mask indoors or where social distancing is difficult you can help keep people safe who are particularly vulnerable to severe effects from COVID-19 and the flu.
‘That includes immunocompromised patients, older people, and those with serious health conditions.
‘So, I urge everyone to be community-minded, pick up a free mask and play your part in fighting COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses which are placing such enormous strain on our health system and claiming lives every day.’
Professor Catherine Bennett, who is Chair of Epidemiology at Deakin University, told Nine Newspapers the idea of showing people how to put on the N95 masks is important.
‘I would love to see that because it makes a big difference,’ Professor Bennett said.
‘You can get a great fit and that makes them more protective.’
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