TIME TO END FACE MASK CONFUSION
The NSW Government should immediately mandate the use of face masks on public transport across NSW in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection and maintain confidence in our public transport system. That’s the message from infectious diseases experts in Australia and around the world.
It follows renewed calls from NSW Labor today that masks should be mandatory on public transport, in places of worship and at shopping centres given the increasing virus risk in Sydney.
The Government has issued confusing instructions to Sydney commuters advising them to wear masks on public transport but telling them it is not mandatory.
The last three months have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of commuters wearing masks, despite several instances of infected people using the public transport network. And a week ago, the NSW Government repealed the public health order requiring employees to be allowed to work from home if it is practicable to do so, causing a spike in commuters catching public transport to and from work.
University of New South Wales epidemiology expert Mary-Louise McLaws advised in August that face masks are crucial in fighting the spread of the disease. She said that Victoria had taken too long to act on masks. When interviewed by Nine media she said “How many people have to get COVID before they realise that it’s a simple act of precaution?”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States reports that updated scientific evidence indicates mask wearing is now believed to protect both the wearer of the masks and those around them. The University of Washington estimates that 130,000 lives would be saved in the United States if 95% of people wore a mask over the coming months.
The Shadow Minister for Transport Chris Minns said: “The NSW Opposition has repeatedly called on the Government to reverse its position, learn from other States and Countries and make face masks mandatory on public transport. It is the cheapest, easiest, safest way of protecting the people of NSW.”
Mr Minns wrote to Transport Minister Andrew Constance on June 10 urging a change in Government policy to mandatory face masks on public transport.
“We’re not interested in scoring political points. We’re simply hoping that the Government sees some sense and acts to keep the State safe,” Mr Minns said.