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Face masks are still strongly recommended in many public settings. Because COVID-19 continues to evolve with highly transmissible variants, a reusable face mask may not provide a sufficient level of protection.
The Australian standard for a respiratory protection mask is a P2 mask. It promises to filter out 95% of particles, while keeping a secure fit on your face and preventing air leakage. The Australian P2 standard is similar to the American N95 standard and the Chinese KN95 standard.
Knowing the difference between P2, N95 and KN95 face masks can be confusing, however they are all relatively similar, with different countries having their own specifications.
For further details on this, read our explanation of the differences here.
|Filter performance||≥ 95%||≥ 95%||≥ 95%||≥ 94%||≥ 94%||≥ 95%|
|Test agent||NaCl||NaCl and paraffin oil||NaCl||NaCl||NaCl and paraffin oil||NaCl|
|Flow rate||85 L/min||95 L/min||85 L/min||95 L/min||95 L/min||85 L/min|
|Total inward leakage (TIL)||N/A||≤ 8% leakage||≤ 8% leakage||≤ 8% leakage||≤ 8% leakage||Inward Leakage measured and included in User Instructions|
|Inhalation resistance||≤ 343 Pa||≤ 70 Pa (at 30L/min)≤ 240 Pa (at 95 L/min)≤ 500 Pa (clogging)||≤ 350 Pa||≤ 70 Pa (at 30L/min)≤ 240 Pa (at 95L/min)||≤ 70 Pa (at 30L/min)≤ 240 Pa (at 95L/min)||≤ 70 Pa (w/valve)≤ 50 Pa (no valve)|
|Flow rate||85L/min||Varied – seeabove||85L/min||Varied – seeabove||Varied – seeabove||40L/min|
|Exhalation resistance||≤ 245 Pa||≤ 300 Pa||≤ 250 Pa||≤ 120 Pa||≤ 300 Pa||≤ 70 Pa (w/valve) ≤ 50 Pa (no valve)|
|Exhalation valve leakage requirement||Leak rate ≤ 30mL/min||N/A||Depressurization to 0 Pa ≥ 20 sec||Leak rate ≤ 30mL/min||Visual inspection after 300L /min for 30 sec||Depressurization to 0 Pa ≥ 15sec|
|Force applied||-245 Pa||N/A||-1180 Pa||-250 Pa||N/A||-1,470 Pa|
|CO2 clearance requirement||N/A||≤ 1%||≤ 1%||≤ 1%||≤ 1%||≤ 1%|
Click here for a complete rundown of rules regarding wearing face masks throughout Australia. In summary, face masks are strongly recommended in high-risk settings such as hospitals and crowded indoor venues.
As of 9 September 2022, it is no longer mandatory to wear a face mask on domestic flights. This is in line with earlier changes making it optional to wear a mask in airports. Face masks are strongly recommended on public transport, including taxi and rideshare services.
Masks are most effective when used in combination with frequent hand washing or use of an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. You can find out more information on when and how to use masks here on the World Health Organisation's site.
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