Where else do you need a mask to drive?

 

Greater Brisbane is apparently the only place in the world, apart from a handful of Indian states, where masks have been a prerequisite for driving.

Unwitting drivers in the subcontinent were reportedly pulled over and fined by cops back in September 2020 for not wearing a mask when behind the wheel, even when they weren't transporting any passengers.

Back then, India was reporting up to 90,000 cases of COVID-19 a day.

But over the weekend, drivers in Greater Brisbane - with its grand total of one case of community transmission at the time - were asked to do the same.

The Queensland Health website at the time even clarified that when in your car, you were outside your home and therefore were required to wear a mask.

Even when Melbourne was notching up 700-plus cases a day, Victorians weren't asked to mask up to drive off.

Griffith University infection prevention and control expert Professor Thea van de Mortel said the mandate wasn't a game-changer in COVID-19 prevention.

"On the balance of probabilities, if you were getting in the car and going to one place, it wouldn't make a huge difference," Dr van de Mortel said.

But the infectious disease expert said keeping your mask on while driving would've been more hygienic than taking it off and putting it back on repeatedly during a trip with multiple stops.

Experts said keeping a mask on while driving meant people wouldn’t need to touch their face as much when stopping to do errands. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Experts said keeping a mask on while driving meant people wouldn’t need to touch their face as much when stopping to do errands. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

 

"Once you've put them on, they're considered contaminated, so you want to handle them as little as possible, Dr van de Mortel said.

"I can see why they said put it on when you're in the car and leave it on," she said.

Dr van de Mortel said the efficacy of stopping the spread by wearing a mask in a vehicle hadn't yet been studied by researchers.

"There isn't any research evidence to say you should go one way or another way with this."


LATEST RESTRICTIONS AND HEALTH ALERTS

Until 1am, Friday January 22:

MASKS

Must be worn in indoor places, including shopping centres and supermarkets, gyms, workplaces where people cannot socially distance and where it is safe to do so, places of worship, libraries, public transport, taxis and ride share vehicles.

Must be carried at all times.

Are not required to be worn when outdoors at a safe distance from other people (for example, walking a dog), in private vehicles or doing

strenuous exercise.

 

BUSINESSES AND VENUES

Indoors: 1 person
per 4sq m

Outdoors:
1 person per 2sq m

Seated eating and drinking only

Smaller venues up to 200sq m: 1 person per 2sq m up to a maximum of 50

No dancing except

for weddings

 

GATHERINGS

Up to 20 in homes and public spaces

Weddings: Up to 100. No restrictions on dancing

Funerals: Up to 100

Indoor concert venues or theatres: 50% capacity, or 1 person per 4sq m - whichever is greater

Outdoor stadiums: 50% capacity with COVIDSafe plans

Restrictions on visits to hospitals, aged care, disability accommodation and prisons remain.


QUEENSLAND HEALTH ALERTS FOR TESTING:

 

SOUTHSIDE BRISBANE (RELATED TO CLEANER AND PARTNER)

Two sites were added to the contact tracing list after the quarantine hotel cleaner's partner tested positive on Monday.

Anyone who visited Bunnings Warehouse in Acacia Ridge from 2pm to 2:40pm on Tuesday, January 5, and Sunnybank Cellars in Sunnybank Hills from 2:05pm to 2:15pm on Wednesday, January 6, has been urged to get tested and quarantine at home for 14 days regardless of the outcome.

An urgent public health alert was issued late on Saturday evening, ordering anyone who had visited Coles at Sunnybank Hills Shoppingtown on January 5, 7.30am-8am, or Woolworths Calamvale North on January 3, 11am-noon to get tested and quarantine for 14 days, regardless of the test result.

The Public Health Unit confirmed anyone who attended these venues at these times was now considered to be a close contact with a Brisbane quarantine hotel cleaner who tested positive to the UK variant.

The Nextra newsagency at Sunnybank Hills was also added to this list of "critical importance".

Authorities have also asked anybody on the Altandi to Roma St Station train at 7am on January 2 and Central to Altandi train at 4pm on January 2 to get tested.

 

MALENY (RELATED TO PASSENGER FROM MELBOURNE)

Health alerts have been issued for three venues in Maleny after a woman flew from Melbourne to Brisbane and then drove to the Sunshine Coast hinterland town on January 5. The woman also had the UK mutant strain of COVID-19 and had been in quarantine in Melbourne for 10 days before being allowed to fly but has since tested positive for the virus. At the time 10 days was the required quarantine period and no exit test was required.

Dr Young said the risk was "extremely low" but said Queensland Health wanted to be cautious.

Queensland Health has urged anyone who visited the Cappriccios Italian Pizza Restaurant on January 6, between 6.30pm and 7pm, to get tested.

They have also issued the same advice for those who visited Purple Palate Cellars between 4.15pm and 4.25pm on January 7 as well as the Maleny Woolworths supermarket on the same day between 4.30pm and 4.50pm.

Anyone in the Maleny area with any symptoms has also been urged to come forward for testing.

Dr Young said health authorities wanted to test passengers on Jetstar flight JQ570 but she said Queensland Health had already contacted all passengers.

Originally published as Where else do you need a mask to drive?



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