In view of the evolving situation of COVID-19 pandemic, many health experts around the world have stressed the importance of mask usage in limiting the transmission of virus. For that reason, mask becomes a “hot demand” in most of the countries and the people.
Singapore Election Portal on Wednesday (8 April) posted various news video clips from Taiwanese media, in its Facebook page where Singapore government has reported to seek help from Taiwan for mask supplies.
According to the state media, Singapore government was among the New Southbound Policy countries in Southeast Asia which will receive the mask donation from Taiwan.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Director-General Baushuan Ger said that the second wave of mask donation will go to the countries covered by New Southbound Policy which had requested for mask supplies.
In response to the countries who informed of Taiwan of their need for masks, Mr Ger noted that it will supply around one million masks to those seven countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam and others.
Government reviews stance on mask usage; contrary to its previous advisory
With the considerations of public health posed by the spread of COVID-19, Singapore government recently has reviewed its stance on wearing a medical mask to prevent the spread of virus, which is contrary to the previous advisory on mask usage.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday (3 Apr) announced that the authorities will “no longer discourage people from wearing masks” given the concerns of the asymptomatic spread in the country.
He said, “We also now have evidence that an infected person can show no symptoms, and yet still pass on the virus to others,” adding, “This is why the WHO is reviewing the issue of face masks, and so is the US CDC.”
PM Lee reasoned that the government’s previous advise on public to wear mask only if they are unwell was based on the “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.
“It was very unlikely for you to run into anyone with COVID-19 on the street, much less be infected by them,” said Mr Lee.
Government assured that mask supplies are enough for resident
Earlier in January, Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing told that Singapore has enough masks for residents if the supply is managed “appropriately”.
Mr Chan said, “Whether we have sufficient masks or not will depend on three factors: How much we have in our physical stockpile, our usage rate, and our resupply quantum and frequency.”
“We will have enough if we manage these three factors appropriately,” he asserted.
The same reassurance was given by the Ministry of Health when it said that there were enough N95 masks in Singapore for the public.