News Coronavirus Health workers get more protective masks

Health workers get more protective masks

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An extra five million face masks will be given to health workers, aged care staff and pharmacists as the number of coronavirus cases in Australia tops 10,000.

The outbreak in Victoria continues to climb, with 270 more cases recorded on Tuesday.

Another two people died in the state, bringing the national toll to 110.

Health authorities are concerned that more than a quarter of people who have been hospitalised with the virus are in intensive care, with 21 needing ventilation in Victoria.

“Clearly if we continue to see community transmission we will see more older people, more people who are at serious risk if they contract COVID-19, being hospitalised,” Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd told reporters.

He said all aged and home care workers in Victoria should wear surgical masks while at work.

Melburnians have previously been advised they should wear face masks outside of their homes if they are in situations where social distancing is not possible, such as on public transport or busy supermarkets.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who lives in Sydney, said he was wearing a mask when in a “crowded situation” but was mostly avoiding crowds.

In NSW, there are now 28 cases linked to a pub in southwest Sydney, prompting the restrictions on gatherings at licensed venues to be tightened again.

Pubs will be allowed a maximum of 300 guests and group bookings will be capped at 10 people.

Venues will also be required to record contact details of every patron, rather than just the person who made the booking.

Anyone who attended the Crossroads Hotels in Casula between July 3 and 10 must get tested for coronavirus and self-isolate for 14 days even if the test is negative.

Queensland has added NSW cities of Campbelltown and Liverpool to its list of coronavirus hotspots, meaning anyone from there must spend 14 days in hotel quarantine if they want to enter the northern state.

It also wants to beef up the penalties for people caught flouting public health orders, with legislation put to the Queensland parliament to impose $4000 on-the-spot fines or six months behind bars.