Healthcare workers fighting coronavirus to receive millions of new face masks after Australia's stocks are boosted
Health

Healthcare workers fighting coronavirus to receive millions of new face masks after Australia’s stocks are boosted

Posted

April 18, 2020 22:32:24

More face masks will be distributed to healthcare workers after Australia received 58 million of them for the national medical stockpile.

Key point

  • Some of the masks were imported from China over the past few days
  • Health Minister Greg Hunt said nearly 22 million masks from the national stockpile had already gone to healthcare workers
  • The bigger stockpile of PPE is an important factor in preparing to resume elective surgery

The personal protective equipment (PPE) has been procured in recent days, much of it imported from China.

The supplies will bolster the national stockpile, with only some to be distributed immediately.

Doctors, nurses, hospital staff, GPs, aged-care workers, Indigenous community health organisations and pharmacists will receive the extra masks.

In a statement, Health Minster Greg Hunt said the new stock would “ensure masks are getting to those who need them”.

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“To date, we have distributed nearly 22 million masks from the national stockpile to frontline healthcare workers, including the 11 million masks I announced last week,” he said.

“The acquisition and stockpile of personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers is a significant indicator in assessing the preparedness of our health system.”

He also said having the extra PPE was a step towards easing social restrictions.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said Australia was now “in a much better position in terms of personal protective equipment than we were even a few weeks ago”.

Commonwealth health officials continue to advise that Australians in good health do not need to wear face masks.

The bigger stockpile is an important factor in preparing to resume elective surgery, a move which the National Cabinet will consider when it next meets on Tuesday.

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Some of the masks arrived in Australia last night, with a cargo plane carrying almost 2 million Chinese-made face masks landing in Sydney.

The highly sought-after equipment was sourced from a factory in Guangzhou and had to be certified by Chinese authorities before being flown to Australia.

Earlier this month the ABC revealed Australian Border Force officials had already seized close to a million faulty Chinese-made face masks, with a combined value of more than $1.2 million.

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Topics:

infectious-diseases-other,

respiratory-diseases,

covid-19,

australia

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