The government has taken proactive steps to secure essential supplies, including masks.
That is according to a written reply in Parliament by the Ministry of National Development (MND) in response to a question by Ang Mo Kio MP Gan Thiam Poh.
What lessons could be learnt?
Gan had asked what lessons could be learnt from the current Covid-19 outbreak, what could be improved, and whether the government will include production of masks and medical protective gears as a strategic facility and support the investment of these kinds of facilities in Singapore.
The reply once again emphasised the responsibility of the individual.
Issues like personal hygiene, supporting society around them, and be careful not to spread undue fear.
They also pointed out to the swift measures they had taken at the very early stages of the outbreak.
"When COVID-19 emerged, we alerted all our healthcare institutions and put in place precautionary measures according to our response plans.
Even before Singapore had its first confirmed case, we anticipated that we would need a whole-of-Government effort to respond effectively to this threat and we set up the Multi-Ministry Taskforce on 22 Jan 2020 to coordinate our responses and measures.
Since then, the Taskforce has put in place in place a whole range of measures from border controls to extra precautions within Singapore. We will continue to monitor the situation and take more measures when necessary."
Develop local manufacturing due to export controls elsewhere
As for the production of masks, MND said they are looking towards "developing local manufacturing capabilities".
MND also revealed that some places like Taiwan, Thailand and India have banned or tightened regulations on mask exports.
"The Government has also taken proactive steps to secure essential supplies, including masks. In peacetime, we had built up a stockpile of surgical and N95 masks.
As we draw down on this stockpile, we will also need to replenish it with new supplies. In recent weeks, some places like Taiwan, Thailand and India have banned or tightened regulations on the export of masks.
We are therefore strengthening the resilience of our supply chain, including looking for new sources, and developing local manufacturing capabilities."
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