Australia’s peak medical body on Tuesday called for a national mask mandate in response to growing complacency.
According to a national survey published by research agency Canstar recently, 55 per cent of those polled will only wear masks if told to do so by their state or territory government, reports Xinhua news agency.
Only 7 per cent of respondents said they wear masks when sick and 8 per cent said they voluntarily wear one on public transport.
Chris Moy, Australian Medical Association (AMA) vice president, urged the federal government to institute a national mask mandate.
Mask rules have been determined by state and territory governments since the start of the pandemic but Moy said uniform rules were needed across the country.
“The government making mandatory rules is quite critical,” he told News Corp Australia.
“They also need to help people understand that living with mask-wearing is another building block to living with the virus and all its variants.”
In Victoria state, which has endured the strictest coronavirus restrictions in the country, 46 per cent of respondents said they would only wear a mask if required, while in New South Wales, which is currently battling fresh Covid outbreak, it was 48 per cent.
Moy said that masks should be made compulsory for anyone who is sick, all commuters on public transport and everyone who cannot socially distance indoors regardless of coronavirus outbreaks.
“It would slow down the spread of Covid,” he said.
“It would be so much easier if we mandated it across the board, it would reduce the confusion.”
Australia has so far reported 30,803 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 910 deaths.