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COVID-19: Mask mandate at Australian Airports could be dropped from midnight Friday 17 June

COVID-19: Mask mandate at Australian Airports could be dropped from midnight Friday 17 June

The Australia Health Protection Principal Committee made up of senior health officials has deemed the mandate as ‘no longer proportionate’, since masks are now options in most public settings:

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has reviewed the current COVID-19 situation in Australia and revised the need for mandated mask wearing in certain settings. The AHPPC notes that all states and territories have relaxed mask mandates in most settings within the community and considers that it is no longer proportionate to mandate mask use in airport terminals. The AHPPC proposes that mask wearing in airport terminals no longer be mandated from as early as midnight 17 June 2022.

The AHPPC continues to recognise the role of masks, along with other public health measures, in minimising COVID-19 and influenza transmission and protecting the broader community, including those who are unable to get vaccinated and people who have a higher risk of developing severe illness. In light of this, the AHPPC continues to strongly recommend continued mask wearing in airport terminals and other indoor settings, especially where physical distancing is not possible.AHPPC Statement 14 June 2022 (my emphasis)

a shirtless man wearing a mask

Adopting this position will be up to individual states. Queensland has already confirmed that it will end the airport mask mandate, so expect other states to follow.

Masks on board domestic aircraft will remain mandated for the moment. Qantas has however indicated that it may no longer require masks on some international flights, but has not given a timeline, or commented on not requiring masks on domestic flights

Travellers have been required to wear masks in Australia since July 2020 in airports and on aeroplanes, despite the dropping of mask mandates in other parts of the world.

The health consensus is still that masks provide very good protection and reduce COVID-19 transmission in enclosed spaces. The lifting of the mandate does not invalidate this, it just moves from a mandate to ‘highly encouraged.

a person wearing a mask looking at colorful balls

2PAXfly Takeout

This is another timely reminder to wear your seatbelt when seated. Holding you close to your seat will protect you from the sort of injuries sustained on this flight, when unsecured passengers flew to the ceiling of the aircraft, and then came crashing down once the ‘drop’ ceased.

The hope will be that this is an anomaly – a ‘freak accident’ in casual parlance. If it is a systemic error either mechanical or electronic, then this is a larger concern for the airlines that fly Boeing Dreamliner 787 aircraft. Let’s hope it isn’t. If it is, it will pile on the woes to Boeing’s existing stack.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still wear a mask in any confined space with lots of people. I will continue to implement my own personal mandate, and wear a mask on planes and in airports, in shops, theatres, on public transport, and in crowded places. Although you hear of mild inconsequential cases, you also hear of horrible, long-term side effects cases. I’m quadruple vaxxed, but I still don’t want to catch this horrible disease. If that means continuing to wear a mask, I’m in.

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