Peak medical body urges mask wearing in regional Victoria

By Madi Chwasta

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is urging regional Victorians to wear a mask or face covering if they are unable to maintain a 1.5 m physical distance from others.

While the Victorian Government has made it compulsory for people over the age of 12 to wear masks in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, masks are only a recommendation for regional Victorians.

RACGP Victoria chair Cameron Loy said it was particularly important to protect smaller regional communities from COVID-19.

“(Smaller regional communities) tend to have fewer medical resources to cope with the virus - there may be just one GP and no local hospital,” Mr Loy said.

“The sooner people mask up in Victoria, especially in areas of community transmission, the sooner we will get on top of this virus.”

Dr Loy said some people had medical reasons for not wearing a mask, and should not be discriminated against for this reason.

He also said masks were not a “suit of armour” against COVID-19.

“People still need to follow the other advice to stay safe, including maintaining a physical distance of 1.5 m from others, regular hand washing, and cough and sneezing into your elbow,” Dr Loy said.