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Do I need to wear a face mask when I’m not sick with COVID-19? WHO revisits its advice
Australian public health officials are “actively” looking to wear face masks to the general public, but maintain that they are not required at this stage of the coronavirus outbreak.
- Despite policy changes in the United States, the advice to Australians is that they do not need to wear face masks
- Professor Paul Kelly says limited supplies and possible misuse have passed on government advice
- However, he could not rule out a move to the mask in the future. At that point you will be offered directions on how to use them best
Federal Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said face masks are an important piece of protection for healthcare workers, but “not recommended for Australians.”
Nearly 7,000 deaths from coronavirus in the United States, and more than 270,000 have become confirmed cases of high infectious disease.
In Australia, it has been confirmed that 30 people have died and about 5,500 people have been infected with the virus.
Kelly pointed out the limited availability of masks and the potential for misuse that could make them “more dangerous” as a reason not to advise on the spread of masks.
“At the moment, this is not a good idea, not only because of supply constraints, but also in relation to people walking around with masks,” he said at a press conference.
Professor Kelly said that even if the supply of masks was unlimited, he would not encourage everyone to use them.
“Incorrect use of a mask can actually be more dangerous.
“For example, if you’re not used to wearing a mask, it can be very uncomfortable … it can be very itchy under the mask.”
Kelly said that touching the surface of the virus and scratching the itch under the mask could “increase rather than reduce” the risk of infection.
Stay up to date on coronavirus outbreaks
However, he said, advice could change as the outbreak of the coronavirus progressed.
“We can continue to look at ways, and in fact we are actively looking at ways to think about using masks for the future.
“If we got that point, it would certainly require a strong debate on how to fit the mask properly and how to use the mask properly.”
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