With commuters in all but one Australian state and territory no longer required to wear masks on public transport, doctors warn ditching the mandate will have consequences.
From today, NSW and Queensland join South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory in not requiring passengers on public transport to mask up.
Australian Medical Association president Steve Robson says state governments have made serious decisions with no consultation and no discussion.
“This is a major decision which will have consequences, and it should have been done with national consensus and clear health guidance,” he said.
“Masks kept us safe from infection when we didn’t have a vaccine, and they continue to be an effective, low-cost, low-hassle and proven way to protect ourselves and others.”
Professor Robson said COVID-19 is still very serious, particularly for vulnerable populations, and is deadly for many people.
“Restrictions are being loosened, including time in isolation, and we still don’t have any sign this was based on medical evidence.”
In Victoria, public transport passengers must wear a mask unless they have a valid exemption – with a $100 penalty for those in breach.
Masks remain mandatory on public transport for people aged 12 and older in the ACT.