Covid-19: Push for mask mandates as cases rise by Victorian Greens

In the wake of a new Covid wave, the Victorian Greens are calling on the state government to start the “intensive promotion” of some mandates that are all too familiar.

In a conference on Saturday, Dr Tim Read, the Victorian Greens spokesman for health, called on the re-elected Andrews government to introduce an “intensive education campaign.”

“The government really needs to introduce a an intensive education campaign for people to wear masks indoors on in crowded venues, shops, public transport and to improve air quality,” Dr Read said.

“We’re not seeing enough air purifiers in shops and venues, we need to see more open windows and outdoor events and outdoor dining, and we need to be prepared for further recommendations from the chief health officer.”

Dr Read said measures needed to be put in place to protect a fatiguing hospital system.

“We don’t know how high the hospital occupancy of Covid patients is going to be. No one wants to see mandates, but if hospitalisation with Covid gets high enough, we have no alternative.

“Why fill our hospitals with Covid patients when a few simple measures like masks and air quality could keep a few hundred people out of hospital?”

The party has made their views on the current lack of mandates clear, calling for Mr Andrews to introduce mask rules for crowded indoor spaces like public transportation and planes, as well as events and venues.

They are also calling for the improvement of indoor air quality where people are dining and are unlikely to be wearing masks.

They suggest the implementation of air purifiers in indoor settings and open windows, as well as outdoor dining.

In the past week, Covid numbers across Victoria have spiked another 20 per cent, with more than 23,000 active cases, and more than 500 people in hospital with the virus.

“Right now, the ambulance is struggling to keep up with demand, the emergency departments likewise. We need to protect our hospital system which is fatigued. We need to make sure that health workers adequately paid and have flexible leave arrangements,” Dr Read said.

“We need to stop exhausted health workers leaving the system because all of those health promises we saw in the election are going to take years to come to fruition.

“We shouldn’t have to be screaming at the government to do something every time.”

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