Lisa blasts ‘mixed messages’ over masks
As Victoria is forced to adopt an extraordinarily tight lockdown complete with a curfew, confusion is reigning over the mandatory use of masks to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Sunday afternoon the state would now descend into stage four after another 671 new cases were detected, meaning the rules associated with the pandemic vary wildly across Australia's jurisdictions.
The Project host Lisa Wilkinson said mixed messaging from state and federal leaders have confused many as the calls for New South Wales to introduce a mandatory policy grow louder.
RELATED: Full details of Melbourne's lockdown
"One of the biggest questions people have been asking since the beginning of the pandemic is do we wear a mask or don't we," she said.
"The messages have been mixed. Now in Victoria it's mandatory. Gladys Berejiklian in NSW is saying she's encouraging everyone to do it.
"Today the Prime Minister put on social media a photograph of himself in a mask."
Tonight the country’s coronavirus epicentre enters an intense new phase of stage four lockdown - with a strict curfew, and greater limits on movement, as Victoria is declared to be in a state of disaster. pic.twitter.com/VPQSoQM7TC— The Project (@theprojecttv) August 2, 2020
Public transport is solely the government’s responsibility. Gladys Berejiklian should be unambiguously saying - “wear face masks”.— Jodi McKay (@JodiMcKayMP) August 2, 2020
Earlier on Sunday the NSW premier urged her constituents to wear masks in known hot spots as well as closed public areas including shopping centres and churches.
"I want to stress it's not compulsory but it's a strong recommendation from health," Ms Berejiklian told reporters. "I can't stress enough that the next few weeks will make or break us."
The premier's comments weren't enough for NSW opposition leader MP Jodi McKay who said the governments reluctance to commit to a mandatory policy has created ambiguity.
"Make face masks mandatory on public transport," she tweeted.
"It's good the premier is finally inching closer, led by Labor, businesses and the community, but her position is still confusing.
"By the time she gets there, we don't want a second wave to have washed over us."
University of Melbourne epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely warned NSW is dangerously close to a second wave as aggressive as Victoria's.
"I'm really concerned about NSW," he said, speaking on Channel 10's The Project.
The virus expert says contract tracing has been proactive in the state but the various outbreaks across Sydney reveal community transmission is occurring
"I'm very concerned NSW is going to tip over into something like what Victoria was four or six weeks ago," Prof Blakely said.
"If I was the Chief Health Officer in NSW, I might become unpopular for saying this, I would be doing mandatory face masking but I'd put Sydney into stage three lockdown now before things get worse because you don't want to end up where Victoria is."
Premier Gladys Berejiklian fronted the media on Sunday to explain her changing position on the use of face masks, saying people in NSW should be wearing them in four circumstances.
These include if you're in an enclosed space like public transport or a supermarket; if you're in a customer service job; if you attend a place of worship; and finally, if you're in a COVID-19 hotspot or an area of high community transmission.
"Firstly, if you are in an enclosed space and you cannot guarantee social distancing, such as public transport, such as when you are buying groceries, you should be wearing a mask," she said.
"We would also like to see more staff to a customer facing wearing masks, whether they are in hospitality venues or whether they are in retail. Whenever they are facing customers, we strongly recommend that they wear masks.
"If you are attending a place of worship, we want you to wear a mask. If you are attending a church, synagogue or mosque, we would like you to wear a mask.
"And finally, if you are in an area where there is high community transmission or a number of cases, we want you to wear a mask."
The Premier described wearing a mask as "the fourth line of defence".
Originally published as Lisa blasts 'mixed messages' over masks