Covid-19: Australia’s Victoria state to impose a mandatory face cover rule
Australia’s coronavirus hot spot, Victoria state, will enforce a mandatory face cover rule in view of rising new coronavirus infections in the state.
Victoria reported 363 new Covid-19 cases and three deaths in the last 24 hours, said state Premier Daniel Andrews.
“We are going to be wearing masks in Victoria, and potentially in other parts of the country, for a very long time. There’s no vaccine to this wildly infectious virus, and it’s a simple thing but it’s about changing habits,” Andrews said.
“Common sense” will guide the new rules, and despite being mandatory, Andrews advised the measure be done “whenever practical”.
“If you are out of your home for one of the four (permitted) reasons, then you need to be wearing a mask and I stress it need not be a hospital-grade mask,” he said, adding, “Any face covering is better than no face-covering.” Andrews said the move was the “powerful next step” in mitigating the spread of coronavirus in the state.
“It doesn’t come at an enormous cost to the Victorian economy,” he said.
“It still allows us to go about our business — particularly those who can’t work at home and for going shopping for the basics.” Anyone who fails to wear a mask could be fined 200 Australian dollars (Rs 10,479) with some exceptions including for those with a medical reason, kids under age of 12 years, those who have a professional reason.
The new rule will be enforced from 11.59 pm (local time) on Wednesday night.
Victoria is currently struggling with the second wave of coronavirus cases that has taken the state’s death toll to 38 as of Sunday and the national toll to 122.
“About 80 per cent of our new cases since mid-May are being driven by transmission in workplaces, including private sector aged care,” Andrews said.
Currently, there are 2,837 active cases in Victoria, 130 people in hospital and 28 of those in intensive care.
Meanwhile, New South Wales recorded 18 new cases in the last 24 hours while no new cases were recorded in Queensland and Western Australia.
NSW Health deputy chief health officer Jeremy McAnulty has asked residents to remain vigilant.
“It wouldn’t take much for us to be in Melbourne’s situation and we need everyone’s assistance,” he said, adding, “Everyone has got a role to play. Don’t be complacent.”