Chan Chun Sing: Govt to distribute improved cloth masks towards end of circuit breaker period

The new cloth masks have better filtration capabilities and are more breathable.

Guan Zhen Tan | May 06, 2020, 02:59 PM


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In a virtual doorstop on May 6,  Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said that the government will distribute new and improved cloth masks to Singaporeans towards the end of the circuit-breaker (CB) period.

Chan said that the new masks will be more breathable and have better filtration capabilities, making it more comfortable to wear.

This will be done with the help of the Temasek Foundation, the People’s Association, MTI and various other companies, Chan said.

The masks will be given out to all residents in Singapore.

Third time masks are distributed

Singaporeans can collect their masks from the various RCs, CCs and vending machines. One will be able to collect a mask over a period of three weeks.

This is the third time masks have been distributed, and the first time vending machines will be used in distributing masks.

An example of how the vending machines that will distribute the cloth masks will look like. Photo via People's Association (PA)

More details will be given out closer to the end of the CB period.

Chan: A "multi-pronged" approach to meeting the demand for masks

Chan was giving an update on Singapore’s mask production capabilities to meet the demand for masks.

He said that Singapore has started ramping up local production capabilities for surgical masks since February, with ST Engineering Innosparks producing N95 masks and medical-grade surgical masks.

Chan spoke on a "multi-pronged" approach, which is to ensure that Singapore has diversified sources for masks while it continues to build up a stockpile.

Besides having local production capabilities, the government is looking towards improving the quality of the reusable masks and sustainable options for people at the same time.

Singapore started to ramp up local production capabilities for surgical masks since February, and are designed to make sure that the supply of such masks to the local healthcare system is sustainable.

Chan said that local healthcare needs will be met by the local production capability for surgical masks, while the government continues to source from diverse sources for the rest of the needs from the public.

Chan said that he is confident that Singapore is able to supply our local healthcare workers "for quite some time", though the minister did cite that it is "very difficult" to sustain the demand for the surgical masks.

This lead to the government working with local companies in production and stockpiling of the reusable cloth masks, and distributing them to the Singaporean community prior to the circuit breaker measures.

This "allows our people to have a mask, when they need it, on a more sustainable basis", he said.

Chan said,

"We will continue to prioritize our buildup of surgical and N95 masks production capabilities for the healthcare system, we will continue to improve the quality of the reusable masks for the general public, and we will continue to have the policy that when we need to mask up, we mask up as a nation. The priority will be making sure that every one of us will have access to a (mask)"

Top photo via People's Association (PA).