New coronavirus rules require Melburnians to wear face masks while practicing social distancing inside at work or risk a hefty fine.
Face masks will become mandatory for all Melbourne and Mitchell Shire residents aged 12 and up from 11.59pm on Wednesday.
Everyone outside of their home must wear a protective mask or cover their face in an effort to stem the horror second wave of coronavirus in Victoria.
Students and people riding public transport are required to wear masks, as well as all workers regardless of whether they are complying with social distancing sanctions.
Victorians breaking the mandatory mask rules will cop a $200 fine, while workplaces that do not comply will face a $9,913 fine.
Face masks will be mandatory for all people aged 12 and up in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire from 11.59pm on Wednesday. Pictured: a woman wears a mask while walking in Melbourne on Monday
Exemptions will be given for medical and practical reasons, including exercise or for proof of identification, but people must carry a mask with them at all times.
Victoria recorded its second biggest spike in new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday with 374 infections and three deaths, taking the national death toll to 126.
WHO advisor Mary-Louise McLaws said Sydney should follow Melbourne’s lead with mask rules ‘within days’ to prevent the Victorian outbreak from infiltrating NSW.
‘I know this will be criticised because it’s across a wide geographical area, but that’s the point,’ she told ABC.
Recent research suggests covering your face with fabric can offer significant protection against infectious diseases.
‘They do work. Some of the new studies show that some three-layered fabrics give you up to 70 per cent protection,’ Professor McLaws said. ‘So if everybody is wearing them, that’s doubling your effectiveness really.’
Thick crowds stroll along the promenade at Sydney’s Bondi Beach on Sunday as the second wave coronavirus outbreaks threatens to spread north from Victoria into NSW
WHO advisor Mary-Louise McLaws said Sydney should follow Melbourne’s lead and implement a mandatory mask rule
New South Wales recorded 13 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday – with 10 linked to the Thai Rock Restaurant in Stockland Mall at Wetherill Park in Sydney’s west.
Professor McLaws believes once the number of active cases of community transmission over a two week period exceeds 100 we will reach an alert level where NSW Health will not be able to effectively contact trace infected patients.
She said wearing masks will provide the greatest defence for Sydneysiders against the disease without closing the border or segregating communities.
‘We don’t know how to ring-fence to get the most bang for our buck, so therefore the next best thing is to protect people from breathing it in for at least a week,’ she said.
Professor McLaws advice has not been backed by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian or NSW Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant, who both believe masks aren’t essential.
Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said wearing a mask would not stop you from getting coronavirus.
‘We want Australians to be absolutely clear that their primary mechanism of defence against COVID-19 is distance — physical distance, getting themselves tested when they’re unwell and supporting our contact tracers,’ he said.
Research says covering your face can offer significant protection from infection. Pictured: a nurse wearing full personal protective clothing takes a sample from a patient at the Bondi beach pop up coronavirus testing facility on Monday