The government has secured an additional 54 million face masks for national medical stockpiles to supply frontline health workers.
Health Minister Greg Hunt says the masks will be available for medical and aged care workers dealing with coronavirus-affected patients.
“We are grateful for the role of our frontline workers and recognise the need to continue to protect them and support the response,” he said.
Three Australians have died as a result of the virus, with 74 testing positive, including two defence personnel.
Mr Hunt said the masks should be arriving by the end of April and would be distributed as required to healthcare workers, including those working in aged care and dentists.
“Some have indicated to us that they will face challenges,” he said in Melbourne on Sunday.
He said the government was preparing to subsidise teleconferencing to allow doctors to diagnose the coronavirus remotely by the end of the week.
Australian Medical Association president Dr Tony Bartone said this needed to happen as soon as possible.
It was a clever and innovative way to deal with the outbreak without putting GPs and patients at risk, Dr Bartone said in Melbourne.
Mr Hunt also urged Australians to show the same solidarity they did during the bushfire crisis, as people panic-buy toilet paper and other goods.
“This is a time to be our best selves,” Mr Hunt said.
“There have been some things which have occurred in recent days, which have not been our best selves.”
Australian Associated Press