Progress Singapore Party (PSP) chief Dr Tan Cheng Bock took to Facebook on Sunday (5 April) to encourage the people of Singapore to wear mask when they leave their home.
“As a doctor, I would go one step further to encourage, and even insist that everyone should wear a mask when you leave home,” Dr Tan wrote.
In his post, Dr Tan explained that it’s important to adorn a mask when one leaves their house because they will be protecting people around them if they cough or sneeze, in case they are an asymptomatic carrier.
“You will be protecting neighbours, colleagues and people around you if you cough and sneeze or if you are an asymptomatic carrier. There is nothing to lose in wearing masks,” he said.
He went on to state that there’s an increase in the number of unlinked local infection cases as well as emergence of new clusters in recent days in Singapore.
As an example, he said that just day a day before (4 April) he wrote the post, Singapore recorded 75 new cases of COVID-19 and identified four new clusters.
As such he said that wearing a mask reduces a person’s risk of contracting the virus if the carries is at a close proximity with the person. He added, “The risks are real.”
“So wear a mask when you go out. It is a simple but considerate act that protects those next to us. Let’s not look for reasons not to wear a mask in public,” he noted.
He continued, “However, don’t let wearing masks make us complacent. We still need to practice good hygiene habits of hand washing and not touching your face. And most of all, we should Stay At Home. This is the best way to protect yourself.”
In his post, he also shared a research paper published in scientific journal Nature. The paper, titled “Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks”, found out that surgical face masks have the ability to prevent transmission of human coronaviruses and influenza viruses from symptomatic individuals.
Government previously said wear masks only when unwell
In Dr Tan’s post, he also noted that the Government has now announced that they will not discourage people from wearing masks.
“Since PM’s announcement on Friday, many Singaporeans are scrambling to do last minute work preparations visiting workplaces and shopping centers before the closure of schools and non-essential businesses on Wednesday,” Dr Tan wrote.
He added, “The Government also said they will not discourage the wearing of masks.”
However, this appears to be an apparent “U-turn” move from the Government’s previous stance where it said that people should only wear masks when they feel unwell.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a television address on Friday (3 April) that the Government’s reason for advising the general public to only wear such masks if they are unwell was based on “scientific advice and guidelines” from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Additionally, there were no instances of community spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Singapore initially, he noted.
Presently, however, Mr Lee said that the Government is concerned about “some cases out there community going undetected” even if there are few of them.
“We also now have evidence that an infected person can show no symptoms, and yet still pass on the virus to others,” he said, adding: “This is why the WHO is reviewing the issue of face masks, and so is the US CDC.”
“Therefore we will no longer discourage people from wearing masks,” said Mr Lee.