Amid worries over the continued spread of the Wuhan virus globally, the Singapore Government on Thursday (30 Jan) announced that all 1.37 million households here will be given four surgical masks each, which will be made available progressively from Saturday (1 Feb).
The Government said about 5.2 million masks will be given out to all local households in private and public housing estates, at the 89 community centres (CC) and 654 residents’ committee (RC) centres. Collection of masks will start at RCs and CCs from 2pm on Saturday. From 2 Feb to 9 Feb, masks can be collected from 10am to 9pm.
Meanwhile, for those who are vulnerable and can’t collect them, the masks will be delivered.
To find out where you can get your masks, an online tool is available to help: https://maskgowhere.sg/
Wuhan virus in Singapore: Should you wear a mask?
Separately, in a Facebook post, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressed the public’s concern and frustrations about not being able to get masks at retail stores, given the recent rush all over Singapore to buy them. Mr Lee said the Government has activated the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), The People’s Association and other agencies “to start preparing masks in special packs for Singaporeans.”
“We want to ensure that every Singaporean who is unwell and needs a mask will have one,” Mr Lee added.
Image Source: Facebook/Lee Hsien Loong
In addition, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said the distribution of Singapore’s national stockpile of masks directly to the public is a “one-time exercise.”
The Ministry of Health has previously advised that people only “need to wear a mask if we are sick. There is no need to wear a mask if [people] are well.”
“We have sufficient masks in the national stockpile if everyone uses them responsibly. Responsible usage means following medical advice – only those who are sick need to wear masks; those who are well do not need to wear masks,” Mr Wong said.
Over the last 9 days, the Government was said to have released more than 5 million masks from the national stockpile to retailers. These masks were snapped up in hours, but many Singaporeans still reported to have not been able to get their hands on them. Mr Wong described the situation as “clearly not sustainable.”
He urged the public to use the masks responsibly and use the distributed masks “only if someone in the family falls sick and needs to go out to see the doctor.”
Protect yourself and your family: Wear a mask, uphold good personal hygiene
As many Singaporeans express concerns and want to protect themselves and their family from the virus, the government reminds the public to uphold good personal hygiene and adopt safety precautions such as:
- Washing your hands regularly with soap
- Avoiding to touch your face with your hands
- Getting your body temperature checked regularly
- Wear a mask when you feel unwell
- Seeing a doctor promptly when symptoms of the flu show