People in Victoria’s coronavirus hot spots could be advised to wear face masks as authorities seek to get on top of the state’s latest outbreak.
Another 74 cases were reported in the state on Sunday, after 108 infections were recorded the day before.
Saturday’s spike resulted in the lockdown of nine inner-Melbourne public housing blocks and more areas being added to the COVID-19 “hot zone”.
The outbreak has prompted Victoria’s public transport union to call for all passengers to be required to wear face masks in Melbourne.
Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the use of face masks was discussed at Sunday’s Australian Health Protection Principal Committee meeting.
“Masks can be part of the solution in times where there is community transmission and there is no other way of protection,” Professor Kelly said.
“There are certain circumstances where they could be used … (in terms of) out in the community, there will be further information from the Victorian authorities on that in coming days.”
Professor Kelly cautioned that wearing low-grade masks could put people at greater risk.
“You can actually be more likely to get an infection in the respiratory tract, so masks are not without their problems,” he said.
“They need to be used properly.”
NSW reported 14 cases on Sunday, all returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine, as were the six reported in Western Australia. No other state or territory reported any cases.
Asked whether further lockdowns were possible in Victoria, Professor Kelly said that was a matter for the state’s health authorities.
“It will be led by the epidemiology and that is entirely appropriate,” he said.
“The proportionality of that response, I am confident, will be correct and appropriate.”