Australia opens first face mask testing facility
Australia's national science agency has opened the country's first accredited face mask testing facility to help in the fight against COVID-19.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) launched the facility on Thursday, saying it will deliver rapid results on testing for surgical face masks and fast-track the delivery of masks to frontline healthcare workers.
For the first time Australian face mask manufacturers will not have to send masks and materials overseas to be tested, saving time and money.
"It's inspiring to see Australian science enabling Australian businesses to supply life-saving surgical face masks to protect our frontline health care workers - yet another way science is tackling the COVID-19 pandemic," Larry Marshall, the chief executive of the CSIRO, said in a media release.
"This new facility will give Aussie businesses another solution from science to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.
"Science is guiding us through COVID-19, and science will help us grow on the other side. There's not much Aussie innovation can't solve, whether it's finding the right vaccine or creating Australia's first National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited face mask testing facility."
The Australian Government in March secured 54 million masks for the National Medical Stockpile, which have steadily been released to state and territory governments for distribution to medical and aged care professionals.
Face masks have been made mandatory outside of the home for all Victorians as the state struggles to contain COVID-19 outbreaks and are strongly recommended in New South Wales.
As of Thursday afternoon there had been a total of 19,862 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and the number of new cases in last 24 hours is 483, according to the latest figures from Department of Health.