- Temasek Foundation will soon provide free surgical and N95 masks to households in Singapore.
- The Foundation is conducting trials before making it widely available.
- Households will be able to claim the masks by presenting SP Group bills at various malls and supermarkets.
As new variants and cases emerge, Temasek Foundation is set to distribute free surgical and N95 masks by the end of August. Surgical masks and N95 respirators are examples of personal protective equipment that are used to shield the wearer from airborne particles and other liquid contaminating the face.
The Foundation recently clarified that there were no distribution exercises last August 4, despite the emergence of the banner advertising online. Temasek’s Chief Executive Ho Ching said in a Facebook post that the Foundation is working with CapitaLand malls and participating supermarkets to conduct trial exercises where masks will be distributed when people show their SP Group bills.
In these trial exercises, each household will be entitled to twenty-five pieces of N95 masks and fifty pieces of medical-grade surgical masks.
The mass distribution was intended to start after National Day, but it has since been postponed to the end of August. The distribution exercises could be pushed back to September, should there be any outstanding back-end issues that need to be resolved.
Nonetheless, household representatives are encouraged to reduce plastic waste by bringing their own bags to carry the boxes of masks when the collection begins.
CURBING THE SPREAD OF DELTA
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the world, public health officials are watching certain coronavirus variants and mutations that can be more contagious or fatal than the original strain. The Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, has been found to spread more easily.
As most of us know, the Delta variant is twice as contagious as the other variants that caused COVID-19 last year. This variant entails Singapore residents to wear more effective masks to help bring down the infection numbers.
Noting that each case has an infectivity rate of between five and six people, Ms. Ho Ching said that “80% of the population needs to wear 80% effective masks or better” to curb the spread of the virus. She added that N95 masks can be worn for high-risks jobs such as looking after COVID-19 patients. The N95 respirator is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and an efficient filtration of airborne particles. The edges of this device are designed to form a seal around the mouth and the nose.
“With the medical grade surgical and N95 masks with effectiveness of 95% or better, we have an additional option for better protection.”
Furthermore, pharmacies will no longer be involved in the mask distribution exercises as these establishments do not have enough space to cater for it.