Singaporean Experts Urge People To Be ‘Obsessed’ With Wearing Masks Amid Rise In COVID-19 Cases

Sarmistha Neogy
·6-min read

Singapore is experiencing its worst spate of Covid-19 community infections in close to a year. So if you have been ignoring following COVID precautions, it’s time for you to pull up your socks, and masks!

Experts are urging people to take existing safety measures seriously, including wearing face masks. This concern comes amid the growing number of coronavirus clusters in the community.

Wear Face Masks And Follow Precautions, Say Experts

babies born to older mothers
babies born to older mothers

Image Source: Pexels

In a response to CNA, Professor Dale Fisher of National University Hospital (NUH) urged people to be safe and “obsessed” with wearing masks. Here are certain precautions that he said must be followed.

  • Don’t step out unnecessarily for the next few weeks

  • Minimise mingling with people outside your households

  • Prof Fisher says people need to be “obsessed” with wearing masks properly

  • Maintain good hand hygiene

  • Follow social distancing “especially when eating and drinking”

He also categorically stated, “I am very concerned that we could lose control, yet we know by tightening our efforts we can defeat this surge together. This has to be a community effort.”

Here’s Why Experts Are Scared For Singapore

There is a reason for experts to worry and stress about wearing face masks. In the recent case of the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) cluster, 27 people were left infected, and it became the nation’s first hospital cluster. It comprised of staff and patients, one of whom was an 88-year-old woman who died.

At the time, the government listed measures to curb the spread of infections from hospital clusters:

  • Closing down public places visited by infected cases for two days.

  • This will ensure proper cleaning

  • Will also facilitate testing of the staff and workers at these affected areas

There was another big cluster case involving seven family members of an infected ICA officer who met over a meal.

Professor Teo Yik Ying, Dean of Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, stressed that the recent cases show that nobody can relax, not even for a moment. He further said, “I certainly hope this is just a blip in our management of Covid-19, and it won’t progress on to much further community spread.”

Singapore has already moved to contain the spread of the virus, from acting swiftly to testing aggressively. Experts however say that what is critical here is cooperation from the public.

Even though the numbers are not large enough to be called a new wave of community infections, experts are emphasising wearing face masks and following other safety measures.

Situation “Manageable”

Although experts have highlighted that there is no need to panic, but just keep following the rules. They have said that this time the situation is “manageable” in comparison to last year in April when the pandemic broke.

This is because the cases are relatively small in few clusters. Also, in most cases, they are linked. Secondly, we have vaccines now that can minimise the deadly effect of the virus. By using strategies such as ring vaccines**, outbreaks can further be brought under check.

**Ring vaccination involves vaccinating contacts of people who test positive, creating a “ring” around each infected person.

Time to no longer delay vaccinations

The recent surge in Covid-19 community infections is also a reminder to those who have been delaying their jabs. And just to spread awareness on inoculation, Singapore is using the power of a disco campaign.

The video aims to dispel concerns that vaccines might not be safe for people with certain health conditions, or for older people.

So far healthcare and frontline workers as well as people aged 45 and above are eligible for the vaccine. However, even though vaccines have been largely effective against these variants, no vaccine is 100 per cent effective.

Therefore, it is very important to continue wearing face masks and avoid crowd to keep COVID away.

How Wearing Face Masks Can Protect Your Family

wearing face masks
wearing face masks

Wearing a mask is one of the effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID. | Image courtesy: iStock

Masks help to stop the COVID-19 virus from spreading through aerosols or respiratory droplets. This means it can spread even while speaking, talking, singing, coughing or sneezing. Also, it is difficult to gauge one’s positivity factor as many youngsters are asymptomatic and carriers.

There are various kinds of face masks in the market. You need to use them keeping in mind the surrounding in which you live.

  • Non-medical masks: If you and your family members live in a place where COVID-19 is widespread you can wear a non-medical mask. But this should only happen if you don’t have any COVID-19 symptoms.

  • Medical masks: These are recommended if you or a family member is at a higher risk of severe illness or has comorbidities.

In addition to wearing masks, CDC also recommends the following precautions.

  • Wash your hands before putting on your mask on

  • Make sure you wear your mask over your nose and mouth

  • Fit your mask snugly against the sides of your face

  • When you take off your mask, handle it only by the ear loops or ties

  • Clean your washable masks and keep them safely

Remember, wearing face masks alone won’t prevent the spread of COVID-19. We all need to continue practising physical distancing and washing our hands frequently. We understand that as parents it might be a challenge to make your kids wear masks, but try to make it a habit.

Every time, they step out of their homes, they should have their face masks on. You could also buy colourful and attractive face masks for your kids. Remember, the more your children like the look of their masks, the more likely they are to wear them even when you’re not around.

Maintain social distancing

At a time when people are still reeling under the effect of the pandemic, you should follow the rules of social distancing. Stay at least six feet away from the other person.

Avoid going to crowded places and especially the ones, that are not properly ventilated. Ask your kids to avoid such places as they increase the chances of exposure to COVID.

Wash hands

wearing face masks
wearing face masks

Washing hands is another effective way to keep COVID at bay. Image courtesy: Pixabay

There has been enough awareness across the world on this topic. But ICYMI, you must wash your hands for 20 seconds to keep viruses at bay. If soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Tell your kids that they should not touch their mouth, eyes and face without washing their hands.

By taking these steps together, we can beat COVID-19. Stay safe and stay healthy!

News source: UNICEF, Channel News Asia, The StraitsTimes


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