The Australian Government has now received 58 million protective face masks that will help provide essential protection for frontline health workers at risk of COVID-19.
The protective face masks have arrived ahead of the scheduled delivery date of the end of April, and in greater numbers than the 54 million previously predicted. They will allow for additional allocations to be released from the National Medical Stockpile to healthcare workers.
The masks are a key element of having our health system prepared and in place as we work towards the aim of easing current restrictions. In particular, they will help with the preparation of a staged resumption of elective surgery procedures.
Ensuring our dedicated frontline health and aged care workers have access to masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) is a Government priority.
Masks from the national stockpile will continue to be distributed as needed by the States and Territories, and by Primary Health Networks to:
• Doctors and other frontline staff in public hospitals.
• General practices and Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Organisations.
• Aged care workers, and workers in other institutions where an outbreak is confirmed.
The Government is working to ensure masks are getting to those who need them. To date, we have distributed nearly 22 million masks from the national stockpile to frontline healthcare workers, including the 11 million masks I announced last week. Future dispatches will continue to support the response to COVID-19.
The acquisition and stockpile of personal protective equipment for frontline healthcare workers is a significant indicator in assessing the preparedness of our health system, as we work towards the aim of loosening current restrictions.