In a media briefing on Thursday, January 30, the government laid out plans to ease the shortage of masks in Singapore.
They revealed that they had released five million masks to retailers in the past 9 days. They still have more than enough stock left. However Lawrence Wong, co-chair of the Wuhan virus task force and National Development Minister, said that this rate of consumption is unsustainable.
The government is currently sourcing for new mask suppliers. They have also ramped up purchases from traditional suppliers.
They however emphasise that masks are for those who are unwell, to prevent them from passing the virus onto others. Those who are well do not need to wear masks.
Collection of masks starts from Feb. 1
Despite this, the government will still be distributing 5.2 million masks to 1.37 million Singapore households.
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will be working with People's Association (PA) to distribute surgical masks to every family.
SAF did something similar during the fight against SARS.
Masks will be made available progressively at 89 Community Centres (CC) and 654 Residents’ Committee Centres (RCs)
The start of mask distribution will begin on February 1, 2020.
All local households in public and private housing estates are eligible.
Collection of masks for both public and private estates will start progressively at Residents' Committee (RC) centres and Community Clubs (CCs) from 2pm on Saturday, 1 February 2020 and is expected to be completed by Sunday, 9 February 2020. From 2 February to 9 February, collection can be done from 10am to 9pm.
For details on when and where to collect their masks, residents should check their community noticeboards, digital display panels and Government's social media platforms.
Priority will be given to areas with high numbers of vulnerable residents, rental block residents and Pioneer Generation residents.
For the homeless, the PA representative said that they will find a way to reach out to them to give them the masks
How to collect masks
Residents need to bring along NRIC for verification. Their addresses will also be marked, and will be synced with other collection centres to prevent multiple queueing.
Four pieces of masks will be sealed in one bag.
Residents can check RC whiteboards, digital displays, or relevant social media to keep updated on the progress of distribution, and find out where and when to collect them.
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