Despite parts of Australia still being well and truly in the midst of a second outbreak of Covid-19, and the death toll increasing by the day, almost three million Australians admitted they still would not be willing to wear a mask to stop the spread of the virus.
Comparison site Finder conducted a survey of 1,000 people and a staggering 15 per cent of Australians – who aren’t living in Victoria – said they wouldn’t wear a face mask. This percentage is equivalent to 2.9 million Australians outside of Victoria who are now branded as “anti-maskers”.
The survey excluded Victoria from the findings as at the beginning of August, the state government made face coverings mandatory whenever residents leave the home. Those who aren’t complying with the restrictions could be fined $200 but, according to the study, 97 per cent of Victorians said they have adhered to the rules since they were put in place.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the World Health Organization advised the public to wear masks in conjunction with proper social distancing (physical distance of at least one metre from others) to properly suppress transmission of the virus.
However, despite this advice and the promising figures, many Victorians have been struggling to stay in the lines. Last Friday, Victoria Police said officers had issued 253 fines in the 24 hours to Friday morning for Covid-19 breaches, according to 7News.
Of these fines, 20 were issued at vehicle checkpoints, 75 for curfew breaches and 41 were for not wearing a mask. One man who was fined for not wearing a mask and being out after curfew reportedly told police he had a birth condition that made him resistant to coronavirus. Meanwhile another man was fined $1,652 for travelling from Whittlesea to Richmond without appropriate documentation. The repeat offender had previously been fined nine times for breaking stage 4 restrictions.
Kate Browne, managing editor at Finder urged Australians to safeguard themselves – and others – by wearing a mask. She added that although it might be a minor inconvenience at times, wearing a mask has a major impact on stopping the spread of the virus.
“Coronavirus is unpredictable,” she said. “Just because you’re living in a state that’s yet to experience a second wave doesn’t mean you should let your guard down when it comes to hygiene and social distancing. Most Aussies are taking the threat of the pandemic seriously and acknowledge that wearing masks is an important component of containing the outbreak.”
Even Prime Minister Scott Morrison weighed in on the issue earlier this month when speaking to Sunrise where he blasted anti-maskers and conspiracy theorists telling them to “get real” following an incident where a woman who refused to wear a face mask allegedly attacked a Victorian police officer.
“I know this is a very difficult time for everybody, I know people are angry, they’re frustrated,” he said. “I know it’s tough but we’ve got to get through this and we’ve got to make this work and what we don’t need is those sorts of disgraceful incidents we saw with that attack, that assault on a police officer just doing their job… It’s not an unreasonable thing to wear a mask, it’s not an unreasonable thing to do those basic things around distancing.”
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