The Department of Health has added an additional 54 million face masks to Australia’s National Medical Stockpile to be made available to medical and aged care professionals caring for patients with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Minister for Health, Greg Hunt said a combination of surgical masks – P2 and N95 respirators – had been secured to help protect Australia’s medical professionals working to stop the spread of the virus.
“We will continue to work to secure additional masks to ensure the National Medical Stockpile remains well stocked, and Australia has enough personal protective equipment to support our medical professionals as the COVID-19 outbreak unfolds,” Mr Hunt said.
“This includes boosting domestic manufacturing capability and capacity,” he said.
“Our approach puts the health and wellbeing of all Australians at the forefront of everything we are doing to deal with this evolving health crisis.”
Mr Hint said Australia had a world-class health system and remained well prepared to deal with the virus.
“But we are not immune,” he said.
“We are grateful for the role of our frontline workers and recognise the need to continue to protect them and support the response.”
National President of the Australian Dentists Association, Carmelo Bonanno said the supply of masks was essential for continued dental services across Australia.
“Without this additional supply of masks, there would be many practices who would be facing imminent closure in the next few weeks,” Dr Bonanno said.
“What this means is the Australian public will be able to continue to receive dental services, and an added benefit of that is that there won’t be an additional burden on medical practices and hospital emergency departments,” he said.