Wednesday April 01, 2020.

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A new initiative has been launched to encourage Tasmanian to pick up a needle and thread and sew cloth face masks to free up the limited supply of surgical-grade personal protective equipment at health facilities.

Tasmanian Coronavirus Solutions has formed to promote the Tassie Face Masks Project which solicits the donation of home-made masks for patients’ use upon their arrival in doctor’s surgeries and on their trip home.

Registered nurse at the Prospect Medical Centre and spokesperson for Tasmanian Coronavirus Solutions Bronwin Ballantyne said there was a huge shortage of surgical grande face masks around the world and that the newly announced project would keep the existing masks in the state free for frontline health workers to use in the course of their vital work.

Ms Ballantyne said among the people who had already contributed to the project were volunteers from the Launceston General Hospital.

“Lots of people who are quarantined are really keen to get on-board and make good sue of their time making masks that are going to get out there and help with the mask situation for the frontline workers” she said. “They’re really pleased to be able to be making a difference.”

But Ms Ballantyne stressed that people shouldn’t rely on the wearing of cloth masks in everyday life. “We’re certainly not telling people to go out wearing these things thinking they’re going to protect them from the coronavirus” she said.

“The best thing is to stay home, wash your hands, social distance (and follow) all the messages that the government are giving.”

St Lukes Health is supporting the initiative by medically laundering the cloth masks before their distribution, which will be facilitated by local pharmacies.

To join the effort, visit the Tassie Face Mask Project page on Facebook where you can fill out a form to indicate your capacity to help.

Alternatively you can email