Free masks give timely protection

Loi Truong with some of the 4000 free face masks provided at his milk bar. 209156_08 Picture: GARY SISSONS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

A Springvale South milk bar’s giveaway of protective face masks has gathered pace in line with the latest Covid-19 health advice.

Greater Dandenong councillor Loi Truong, the owner of the shop in Darren Road, has handed out 4000-plus reuseable cotton masks in the past two months.

Since early June, he’s ordered an extra 1900 masks donated by a Braybrook fashion company Veducci.

As the state plunged into stage 3 lockdown on 9 July, health authorities advised people to use face masks in crowded public areas such as supermarkets, public transport and shopping centres.

It’s sparked a noticeable surge of shoppers wearing face protection, Cr Truong says.

Down to his last 1000 masks, Cr Truong has pitched in $500 towards material for “a couple of thousand” more.

“They’re reuseable – you can wash them and re-use

“It costs a lot of money to use (disposable) paper masks.”

Cr Truong said the giveaway was born from the Vietnamese community’s desire to repay Australia’s welcoming of refugees about 40 years ago.

The manufacturer Veducci planned to make up to 70,000 free masks for Melburnians, he said.

“We live in a country when we are in trouble we have to unite to help each other.

“It’s a great opportunity for the Vietnamese to pay back to society.”

The Department of Health and Human Services advises that a cloth mask or surgical mask gives an extra layer of protection from Covid transmission.

“Cloth masks are any nose and mouth covering made of washable fabric. We recommend a cloth mask made of three layers of a mix of breathable fabrics to ensure adequate protection.

“It does not need to be surgical quality to be effective.”

The best protection remains keeping 1.5 metres social distance, employing good cough etiquette and regularly washing hands, according to the DHHS.



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