Australia’s peak medical body says Queenslanders should consider wearing face masks in public even though the state’s rate of COVID-19 infection is still very low.
Australian Medical Association Vice President Dr Chris Zappala said there was strong evidence masks could reduce community transmission, and that early adoption of the accessories could prevent Queensland from fresh outbreaks like those seen in Victoria and NSW.
“We must remain vigilant and regard this virus, even in Queensland, where we’ve only got a couple of active cases, as poised and ready to infect us,” he told ABC radio on Wednesday.
“We need to look at what happened (in Victoria) and realise if we drop our guard that’s exactly what could happen to us, so we need to remain vigilant.”
Dr Zappala said masks in outbreak hotspots were essential, but that Queenslanders should also wear them if they were medically at risk, or visiting an area where social distancing was difficult.
“If you know it’s going to be very difficult wherever you’re going to maintain proper physical distancing then that’s the sort of circumstance where a mask should definitely be contemplated and perhaps worn,” he said.
He added proper hand hygiene was also critical in stopping the spread.
His comments come as there is growing concern over an emerging second wave of COVID-19 in NSW, which could result in Queensland denying entry to more people from the state.
Tight border controls have resulted in hundreds of people being turned back, including a man who hid in a car boot.
He was fined $4003 for attempting to enter Queensland without a Border Declaration Pass after being found at Wallangarra, in the Southern Downs, on Sunday evening.
The other women in the car, aged 28 and 29, were also refused entry.
Queensland has just two active COVID-19 cases while 90 people are being treated for the virus across NSW and Melbourne is in lockdown with face maks in public to become mandatory on Thursday.
Queensland has declared the whole state of Victoria a hotspot, as well as the Liverpool and Campbelltown areas near a popular pub in southwestern Sydney which is linked to about 50 cases.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says her government is looking at blacklisting even more areas in NSW.
The placement of checkpoints along the Queensland-NSW border remains a sore point for both premiers, with neither prepared to concede ground.
Ms Palaszczuk wants the border moved south to the Tweed River to resolve traffic congestion in Tweed Heads and Coolangatta where locals have been blocked in their driveways.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says, if anything, checkpoints should move further into Queensland.