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Infectious Diseases Expert Calls For Face Masks To Be Made Mandatory In NSW

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Infectious Diseases Expert Calls For Face Masks To Be Made Mandatory In NSW

Calls have been made for face masks to be mandatory in New South Wales as Greater Sydney tries to wrestle a fresh Covid-19 outbreak.

Infectious disease expert Associate Professor Sanjaya Senanayake believes it should be the first step so that people protect themselves when they're out in public.

"We know that is a safe, effective, and cheap measure in reducing the transmission of COVID," he told Channel 9.

"Masks should be made mandatory. We know from earlier in the year when masks were recommended, not mandated, a third of people wore masks.

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"If you mandate it it is far likely to get a higher level of compliance. It is safe, effective and cheap and when we don't need masks any more you don't wear them."

Credit: Channel 9
Credit: Channel 9

There are 68 confirmed cases linked to the Northern Beaches cluster and the state government predicts the outbreak could grow higher.

At the moment, the only positive cases have been in the Northern Beaches, however there are fears once it seeds into the larger community it will be harder to control.

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People in the Northern Beaches have been placed on lockdown and have been told not to leave their homes unless for exercise, compassionate care, shopping or medical appointments.

Professor Senanayake's call for mandatory face masks has been echoed by a Melbourne health expert who believes Sydney should be forced into tough restrictions for a short period of time as a circuit breaker.

CEO of Melbourne's Burnet Institute Professor Brendan Crabb told Channel 7 the rules need to be enforced now otherwise there could be a much larger outbreak.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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"The most risk-free way to have a COVID-free Christmas and new year period is to throw the book at this," he told Sunrise. "There's a better chance in going hard for two, three or four days than there is if you don't."

"The best way to restrict that virus from moving is social distancing, which is aided by stay at home measures.

"Just throw everything at this and reduce the risk as much as possible of this being seeded more widely than we currently know it is."

State government authorities have urged everyone in Greater Sydney to wear a mask while out in public, however stopped short of making it mandatory.

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People in Greater Sydney had new restrictions imposed at midnight overnight, which places a maximum capacity on venues to 300 and the four-square metre rule has been reimposed.

Singing and dancing at indoor venues have been banned, however weddings are allowed 20 in the wedding party to dance. On the spot fines of $1,000 for individuals and $5,000 for businesses have been reinstated.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, Australia

Stewart Perrie
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