SAF activates 150 soldiers at short notice to help deliver over 5 million reusable masks over the weekend

Singapore residents began collecting their masks from Apr. 5 onwards.

Andrew Koay| April 06, 11:50 AM

On Apr. 3, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced a change in the government's policy regarding the wearing of face masks.

"We will no longer discourage people from wearing masks," said PM Lee.

The rationale behind the change, he explained, was the number of undetected cases suspected to still be in the community, and new scientific evidence that an infected individual could still spread the virus despite showing no symptoms.

"Wearing a mask may help to protect others, in case you have the virus but don’t know it. This is so that you keep your droplets to yourself.

It can also protect yourself a little better, especially if you are elderly, or vulnerable because of pre-existing conditions."

While surgical masks are still being conserved for healthcare workers, the government has decided to distribute reusable masks to the rest of the public.

Mobilising soldiers

And in order to aid the distribution of more than five million reusable masks — one for each Singapore resident — more than 150 soldiers from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) were mobilised from Apr. 3 to Apr. 5.

According to a post on the Ministry of Defence's (MINDEF) Facebook page, the soldiers were activated at short notice to collect and deliver the masks to 89 People's Association community centres and clubs.

"The SAF stands ready to support Singapore and Singaporeans in the fight against the Covid-19 virus," the post read.

MINDEF's continued support

MINDEF had previously lent support during the Covid-19 pandemic by supplying manpower to temperature screening stations set up at Changi Airport.

Soldiers were also mobilised to pack over 5.2 million masks over 48 hours when the government decided to distribute four surgical masks to each household.

More recently, MINDEF personnel have been helping the nation's contact tracing efforts, and checking in on compliance with stay-home notices (SHN).

Top image from MINDEF's Facebook page