Aged care staff across Australia could soon be ordered to wear surgical masks to prevent a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in nursing homes.

Up to 80 residents and staff at Melbourne aged care facilities have tested positive for coronavirus as a second wave of infections sweeps across the Victorian capital.

It is largely staff that are presenting with COVID-19 and they have been told to wear face masks.

Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck said the direction could be adopted in other jurisdictions.

“Of course aged care facilities are quite free to take up that advice more broadly,” he told ABC radio on Tuesday.

“But it’s specifically focused at this point of time where we know there is community spread.”