Following the spread of coronavirus in Australia and the subsequent response but the health care workers in the country, there is a growing concern about the P2 mask shortage. This shortage may be due to the increasing demand for these masks by health care workers or from the company. On the other hand, some of the Chinese countries that were responsible for its production had shut down due to insufficient labor, which led to low supply.
However, some of the other Australian suppliers have begun to look at other face masks brands for the supply from other countries other than China. When acquired, the products can then be imported into Australia to meet the demands. Some of the alternative brands include 3M, Honeywell, Moldex, UVEX, MSA, Prochoice, and Draeger. Also, the P2 disposable respirators are vital to the protection from thermally or mechanically generated particulates.
For a respirator to become approved and standardized by the Australia/New Zealand AU/NZA 1716, it must meet all the international and national medical requirements for a ventilator. Besides, in the occurrence of P2 masks shortage, there are ways to maximize the use of the face masks. Some of the suggested standard procedures include;
- Reschedule the program roster of the health workers until a new supply of the P2 masks arrive
- Limit the use of the respirator to strictly by the direct exposure to the contaminants
- Device ways of extending the use of each face mask rather than picking a new one each time
According to the Workplace Health & Safety Queensland (WHSQ), the necessary stakeholders should take responsibility for the availability of the face mask. And until then, arise to enhance the redistribution and balance the availability of the limited resource among those who need it more than others. The health or medical officers are the ones at the frontlines of the battle against COVID19, and they deserve the best form of protection. Also, they are in charge of caring for the confirmed as some more people will still recover their health.
The ABC reported that effective personal hygiene remains the most vigorous opposition to the spread of the coronavirus. If people endeavor to wash their hands very often and keep social distance, the use of face masks will be restricted to when in public places only. Besides, the P2 model of face mask is only recommended for use in public areas. In other words, the risk of contracting the virus is far lesser when you comply with the social distancing and hand washing rule.
In conclusion, the response to the virus is not fear nor panic, but careful adherence to the laid down rules and guidelines by appropriate authorities. Furthermore, the PHNs have an instruction to conserve the limited stocks of the P2/N95 respirators. At the same time, the respirators should have particular limitations according to the general practices for other bodies. In all, if demands continue to rise, and supply is not available, there is a fear the shortage might reach other parts of the world.