It seems the country is running out of masks and the people are concerned about what this could mean.
On Friday (24 January), the Ministry of Health (MOH) reassured the public that there were enough N95 masks in the country for the public. This announcement was made after several retail outlets ran out of both surgical and N95 masks that day following the confirmation of Singapore’s first Wuhan virus case.
However, since then, social media has been rife with comments from people in Singapore talking about how many retail outlets are still out of masks. On top of that, outlets with masks have to contend is growing queues.
A reader reached out to TOC to share that the demand for masks was rising. They were only able to buy three boxes per person and at an increased price at as well.
Last week, Channel NewsAsia reported that a check showed that Guardian and Watsons stores in Paya Lebar Quarter, Clementi Mall and Tiong Bahru Plaza were out of the masks.
MOH then said in a press conference the same day that there is “more than sufficient” stock of N95 masks in the country should there be a surge in demand, adding that there is typically an excess of six months usage of different items including surgical masks during times of “peace”.
The reminded the public to stay calm and urged people who are coughing and sneezing to use surgical masks
“The public need not panic. First of all, we don’t need N95 masks for most of the purposes we use the mask for. We also have enough stock within Singapore so there should not be a situation where we anticipate the masks running out at any time,” said the ministry.
The Ministry also noted that major retailers have activated their supply chains to ensure sufficient stock in-stores but those who need supplements can approach MOH.
However, it seems people are finding it difficult to locate a store that still has them in stock.
Comments on TOC’s Facebook showed several netizens who were irate over the seemingly low supply of masks and long wait times. One person even pointed out that they’ve seen people selling masks online for exorbitant prices, capitalising on the public’s fears.