Australia Calls for essential workers to wear masks when travelling through NSW

07:16  14 august  2020
07:16  14 august  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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Travel if essential : Work from home if you can or travel in off peak times to provide priority for essential workers and school children. How we are supporting physical distancing. Transport for NSW is taking a number of actions to support physical distancing and keep services clean and safe.

Many airlines require crews to wear masks . As some states begin to relax or lift stay-at-home orders, lawmakers and unions representing flight attendants and pilots have stepped up calls for industrywide rules on masks to protect flight crews from passengers — and passengers from one another.

a close up of a sign: Local businesses in western NSW may look to place signs in their windows encouraging people from hotpots to wear a mask. (ABC News: Rachel Clayton) © Provided by ABC Health Local businesses in western NSW may look to place signs in their windows encouraging people from hotpots to wear a mask. (ABC News: Rachel Clayton)

Western NSW politicians are calling on essential workers to wear masks as they travel through the state from Victoria.

Except for a case in Orange, western NSW has been COVID-free since May.

But Gilgandra Mayor Doug Batten warned residents to be vigilant as cases continued in greater Sydney and Victoria.

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More retail giants have joined the call for customers to wear face coverings when shopping in A Coles spokesperson said shoppers had been encouraged to wear face coverings at all of its stores The supermarket said it was providing masks to its NSW workers and encouraged “customers to

New South Wales recommends wearings masks “in situations where you are unable to social distance”. The NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has strongly urged people to wear masks in enclosed spaces like on public transport or while grocery shopping, as well as for retail workers , or

"To date we've been blessed but there's no saying the next case won't be here tomorrow," Mr Batten said.

Gilgandra is situated 45 minutes north-west of Dubbo and is on the junction of three major highways.

"You can't stop the essential workers travelling through our communities, especially the truckies, we need them because the economy will grind to a halt without them," Mr Batten said.

"Managing that is a real challenge.

"It's something I'll take up with our emergency management committee and we might look to put in the shop front windows in town if you're visiting from Victoria or a hotspot in NSW, please wear a mask."

Masks not mandatory

At the moment it is only recommended that all essential workers entering the state from Victoria wear a face mask when travelling through NSW, while COVID-19 testing every seven days is encouraged, but not mandatory, as part of a COVID-19 safety plan.

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The call for people to wear face masks came a little too late, but better late than never, said Chunhuei Chi, director of the Center for Global Health at He pointed to East Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea, where people have been wearing face masks since January, lowering the spread of

All essential workers must also don masks , whether they are frontline staff or performing back office functions, the ministry said. It noted that medical experts have advised that some groups may have difficulties wearing a mask , including children with special needs and young children.

Member for Barwon Roy Butler said he would like to see essential workers from Victoria, who are travelling through New South Wales, wear masks.

"It is recommended and encouraged, so I suppose it's one of those things where it provides people in communities, who have a high degree of anxiety around COVID-19, with a degree of comfort when people wear masks," Mr Butler said.

"It's a reminder to all of us to keep our guard up and stay vigilant, because if people aren't wearing masks then social distancing and hand sanitisation is our first line of defence to keep ourselves safe."

Mr Butler said if numbers remained high in Victoria, masks should become mandatory in NSW.

"At this stage it hasn't graduated from a recommendation to a health order, but I think if case numbers in Victoria remain in the hundreds and NSW sees numbers go anywhere higher than they are at the moment then we might see that change," he said.

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Currently, travel restrictions and entry screening apply only to travelers arriving from some countries or regions with widespread ongoing spread of COVID-19. According to CDC disease protocols, if a sick traveler is considered a risk to the public’s health, CDC works with local and state health

Australian healthcare workers reported shortages of masks and other protective equipment when the It's crucial for health workers to have access to all the appropriate protective equipment So, if you're not working in a high-contact environment and you're powering through a new pair every time

Truckies frustrated by variations in rules

Truck driver and road transport and safety advocate Rod Hannifey said truck drivers were just as concerned about COVID-19 as anyone else.

"We don't want to get it, we don't want to carry it, and I don't think we will if we behave and if we're given the chance to do our job properly and safely," he said.

Mr Hannifey said, when required, he was wearing a mask.

"I'm not wearing a mask in NSW unless sites expect that," he said.

"Some of the places that we do load are asking everyone on site, not just truck drivers, to wear them.

"Of course in Victoria, when you're out of the truck, anywhere in public you are required to wear masks down there at the moment."

Mr Hannifey said even if truck drivers were to get tested it could lead to a logistical nightmare.

"Where are we going to park these trucks to go and get the test? It's not something you can do easily," he said.

"If you send us for tests when we are not sick, we are far more likely to get the sickness that way."

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