Free pair of 3D masks for all Singapore residents from Nov 30

Some vending machines across the island have already begun restocking the mask kits.- ST

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN): Each Singapore resident will be able to collect a pair of reusable masks from Nov 30, in the third nationwide mask distribution by Temasek Foundation.

Some vending machines across the island have already begun restocking the mask kits, with collection to begin at 10am on Nov 30 and will end on Dec 13.

Temasek chief executive and executive director Ho Ching said in a Facebook post on Thursday (Nov 19) that the masks are "breathable antimicrobial 3D masks" from local company Proshield.

The 3D masks are shaped to fit the face, and are similar to the ones distributed in the National Day pack for every household, she noted.

Each kit will consist of two reusable masks along with three additional filters.

The mask has a pocket where the filters can be inserted should users wish for more protection in crowded places, she added.

They come in four sizes of small, medium, large, and extra large, with the small intended for children under eight years old only.

Ho said people should check for a correct fit before collecting their masks, and those who fall in between sizes should opt for the next bigger size.

The water-repellent masks can also be washed and reused 30 times or more.

"With a proper fit, a 3D mask can sit nicely on the nose, and wraps under the chin, with enough room to breathe, and talk without the mask slipping down our nose," said Ms Ho.

According to Proshield's website, the masks are made of polyester for good breathability. In addition, they have a particle filtration efficiency (PFE) of 97 per cent, and bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) of 99.85 per cent for up to 25 washes.

These measures indicate how much of droplets and bacteria can be filtered.

The PFE test measures how well the mask can filter tiny respiratory droplets of 0.1 microns or one millionth of a metre.

The BFE test measures its ability to filter droplets containing bacteria at about three microns in size.

A good mask should have a BFE and PFE of more than 95 per cent.

The filter pads are also made out of a nanofibre to protect users from dust particles, water droplets and bacterial growth.

The DET masks distributed by Temasek in September had a BFE value of more than 80 per cent, but it did not have a PFE value.

Both types of masks have a breathability reading equivalent to less than 40 pascals per sq cm in a differential pressure test, indicating that the mask is comfortable to wear.

During Temasek's previous distribution exercise from September to October, around 7.6 million free reusable antimicrobial masks were collected. In its first exercise from June to July, 9.3 million masks were collected. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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