Hong Kong Masks Australia, a group of volunteers based out of Queensland but has a local presence in most cities across Australia, provides a DIY face mask tutorial for the community and free giveaway for healthcare workers, elderly, vulnerable and those with disabilities.
Made of fabric, the masks are washable. It has a compartment for a filter, which can then be replaced and if a filter is not available, use of the paper towel can do the trick: two pieces should be used, one angled differently from the other.
Sample cloth face masks from Hong Kong Masks Australia
I first heard of the Hong Kong Masks Australia from a local Facebook group of mums. Using the social media hashtag #HKMask, they are a team of people from Hong Kong currently living in Australia who realise that this is an anxious time for many Australians and their loved ones; as part of helping out the community combat the COVID-19 outbreak, they are promoting the use of face masks by those who need to use them. The mask is based on the design of Hong Kong-based Dr K Kwong, a former CUHK lecturer with a PhD in Chemistry from HKU. Click here to visit the Hong Kong Masks Australia group in Facebook.
The facemasks are individually wrapped as if commercially made, but they are free and handmade by locals.
The routine use of face masks in the community is not currently recommended by health authorities in Australia, which is consistent with advice from the World Health Organisation.
However, according to the latest advice from the Australian Government dated 11 June 2020, some members of the public may choose to wear a mask in situations where it is not feasible to maintain physical distancing, such as when on public transport. Those of us who have been to shopping centres, particularly on weekends, can easily attest that indeed, physical distancing can be quite a challenge, with many people seemingly unmindful of keeping the 1.5-metre distance between persons despite prominent reminders everywhere. In these circumstances, a face mask could provide additional protection.
The Australian Government advice further said that those at increased risk of severe illness if infected, e.g. because of their age or a chronic medical condition, may also benefit from the additional protection a face mask would provide.