An Australian doctor has argued people should be forced to wear face masks amid the coronavirus outbreak – and shown how to make your own at home.
Dr Zac Turner believes countries that have made wearing masks compulsory have been the most effective in flattening the infection curve of COVID-19.
The 31-year-old says there is no excuse not to wear a mask in public to protect yourself and the others from the disease.
‘Whilst we may not have enough (face masks) there’s no excuse for you to not be wearing one in the community,’ he said.
Dr Zac Turner believes there is no excuse to not wear a face mask in public to protect yourself and your community from coronavirus
Medical experts are worried about a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE0.
Australia’s supply of face masks had already been depleted by the bushfire crisis when the coronavirus pandemic took off in China.
Dr Turner made a video showing how to make a face mask using every day household items including a cut up t-shirt, a recyclable bag and a handkerchief.
He recommends using items that are 100 per cent cotton so they can be re-sterilised after use and highlighted the importance of social isolation to prevent the spread of the deadly disease.
‘You can be contagious long before you know you’ve got it,’ Dr Turner said.
Australians should lean towards not using masks and to instead just stay at home, experts say (pictured: woman wears face mask outside pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic in Bondi)
Dr Turner’s advice goes against the advice of Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly, who believes masks should be left for front line health workers only.
Professor Kelly said due to restraints on supply, Australians should lean towards not using masks and to instead just stay at home.
‘In terms of mask use in the community, I would stress again, at the moment we do not think it is a good idea, partly because of the constraints around supply,’ he said.
‘Masks can be useful to stop the spread from a person with the disease to other people if the mask is used correctly, that’s true.
‘And secondly, if the mask is manufactured [per] Australian standards. But at this point in time, our advice remains that if you are sick, stay at home.’
Professor Kelly said those who wear the mask incorrectly can find it quite uncomfortable, meaning they will have to touch their face and potentially expose themselves to COVID-19.
Passengers and police are seen wearing face masks after arriving at Brisbane International Airport
‘So for example, if you are not used to wearing a mask, it can become quite uncomfortable, even claustrophobic. And indeed, it can become quite edgy underneath the mask,’ he said.
‘So touching a surface with the virus, scratching yourself underneath the mask, could actually increase your risk rather than decrease your risk.
‘There would need to be a strong conversation about how to fit a mask properly and how to use it safely and effectively.
Professor Kelly said the only ones who really needed them were health workers.
‘(Members of the public) shouldn’t be using face masks in public because that would be a waste of face masks,’ he said.
‘I think it is very important that we really put that towards our health care workforce, aged care workforce, they are the front line that we all need be protected to be able to continue to work.’