The Chinese community and Chinese doctors have suggested it should be mandatory to wear masks in public transport, places of public worship, medical centres, hospitals and shops.
This was a recommendation emerging from the online COVID-19 forum for the Chinese community which was successfully delivered recently.
Called "Keeping our community safe - How to respond to current COVID-19" it was the third online forums in Chinese Community held after the outbreak.
Due to social-distancing policies, all main speakers plus the host and MC, Georges River Councillor Nancy Liu chose to stay home or at their workplace separately but linked via three different social media tele-conferencing platforms, ZOOM, YouTube and WeChat.
Councillor Liu thanked forum sponsor ZOOM Video Conferencing who upgraded five times the capacity in comparison to the second forum.
The online forum organising team collaborated with personnel from the COVID-19 Chief Health Officer support team.
This included the NSW Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Jeremy McAnulty who provided the latest information and relevant measures to handle the COVID-19 pandemic to people with both Cantonese and Mandarin speaking backgrounds, and also answered about ten questions with the assistance from his interpreter.
These questions were collected on social media from the community and prepared by the organising team beforehand.
The topic of face masks was raised, with participants asking what is the current policy from the NSW Ministry of Health.
"The Chinese community and Chinese doctors suggest that it should be mandatory to wear masks in public transport, places of public worship, medical centres, hospitals and shops because at those places, it is difficult to maintain social distancing," Cr Liu said.
"There are so many different types of masks, we asked which types are effective for defending COVID-19?"
Another main speaker Dr Jiang Li, who is vice-president of the Australian Chinese Medical Practitioners Society and a Hurstville GP called for mandatory face masks..
"At the moment when we are seeing continued community transmission, the doctors are thinking the masks are quite important in preventing community transmission," Dr Li said.
"We need to keep social distancing but in a hospital setting you cannot practically keep social distancing. The Premier has strongly recommended everyone needs to wear a mask but in certain areas socal distancing is very hard to maintain.
"With doctors, nurses and aged care providers, we need to make masks mandatory. They should also be used in schools."
Dr Li said it didn't matter what type of mask the public wears.
"Personally, I think that any mask is better than none," he said..
"But in hospital, doctors and nurses need a particular mask, a '95'.
"But for the public, a normal surgical mask is perfectly adequate."
Other questions included whether it is safe to isolate patients who have been infected with COVID-19 at home in the community?
"People asked is the infection rate in family members safe? How do they ensure that they consciously prevent community infection?" Cr Liu said.
Other topics discussed included aged care facilities and what lessons can NSW learn from Victoria; why do children have to go to school instead of attending online classes, and vaccine progress in Australia as well as in the United States, Britain, Russia and China or other countries, and forecasting the time when Australia's population will be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Individuals and organisations supporing the forum were the Australian Chinese Medical Practitioners Association, the Australia Chinese United Business Association Federation, Wondercity Culture Media, Australian Business Elite Club, CNOSURE Pty Ltd, Dr Clare Wong, Momo Zhang, Michael Xu, Chu Hang, Lina Zhao, Eileen Zhang, Sunny Zeng, Kelland He, Jeff Sun and Jay Jiang.
Councillor Liu also participated in a webinar event called NSW Chinese Community Roundtable last week which was organised by his office of Alan Tudge, Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure; Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs.
Minister Tudge said, " In response to the evolving situation with COVID-19, we should continue to take measured precaution to ensure we keep our community safe."
He also praised and acknowledged the Chinese community for being vigilant and proactive in fight against the virus. He responded to the questions from online participants as well.
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