Approximately 67 percent of the 1.37 million Singapore households have collected face masks from the nearby community centres (CC) and Residents’ Committee (RC) centres as of 26 February, the People’s Association (PA) said on Thursday (27 February).
“We are heartened that residents were mindful and only collected the masks if their family needed them,” PA said yesterday.
The number has increased since the PA’s previous announcement on 9 February that only 54 percent of the households have collected their free masks which prompted the government to extend the deadline for mask collection to 29 February.
Those who have not collected their masks are urged to do so during the opening hours of CCs or RCs located nearby as the mask collection will wrap up by tomorrow.
The association further noted that uncollected masks will be returned to the national stockpile after the deadline in order to ensure that health institutions and the individuals in need are able to have access to the necessary supplies.
“This spirit of stepping forward, working together and looking out for each other will help us overcome the challenges ahead, as one community,” PA said as it extended gratitude to volunteers who have assisted in the mask distribution.
Previously on 30 January, the government announced that it will distribute four surgical masks to each household as a “one-time exercise” from 1 to 9 February amid the surging demand for surgical masks in the country.
The government also reminded the public that the masks are only for those who are sick and that people who are in healthy condition do not need to wear a mask.
About 5.2 million free masks were handed out progressively since 1 February via 89 CCs and 654 RCs, and people were required to bring along their identity card (NRIC) when collecting the masks as there was only one collection per household.
Government seek to develop local manufacturing capabilities for face masks production
Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Development (MND) said on 18 February that the government will look into developing the country’s domestic capability to produce face masks locally. This is in light of tightened export regulations in other Asian countries on face masks.
In a written parliamentary reply to Ang Mo Kio member of parliament Gan Thiam Poh, MND said that it is crucial for the government to strengthen the resilience of the nation’s supply chain.
“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,” said MND.