The World Health Organization (WHO) is changing its recommendations for the use of masks during the coronavirus pandemic.
The WHO is now recommending that in areas where there is widespread transmission, people should wear masks when social distancing is not possible, such as on public transport and in shops.
In a press briefing on Friday, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said people older than 60 or those with underlying medical conditions should wear a medical mask in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained.
The WHO has previously only recommended that healthcare workers, those sickened by COVID-19 and their care givers wear masks.
The current advice in Australia is still to that the majority of people do not need to wear face masks.
Mr Tedros said “masks on their own will not protect you from COVID-19” and emphasised the importance of hand-washing, social distancing and other measures.
He added that health workers in areas with widespread transmission should now wear medical masks in all areas of health facilities and not just those with confirmed COVID-19 patients.