Singapore residents to get free N95, surgical masks from Aug 26

Unlike previous free masks distributed (above), the masks handed out in this coming exercise are single-use disposable ones. - ST

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN): Singapore residents can collect free masks at 15 CapitaLand malls and selected Sheng Siong, Prime Supermarket, Cold Storage, FairPrice Xtra and Giant outlets from Aug 26 to Sept 26.

These are among the more than 130 collection points islandwide where the masks will be available, Temasek Foundation said in a statement on Thursday (Aug 19).

Each household can collect 50 medical-grade surgical masks and 25 N95 respirator masks, which have "95 per cent particle filtration efficiency or better".

To collect the masks, residents must show a paper or electronic SP residential bill with their SP Group utilities (residential) bill account number.

The number will be scanned and recorded before the masks are given out. Residents can also provide their SP residential account number for manual validation.

Household representatives are encouraged to reduce plastic waste by taking their own bags to carry the boxes of masks when the collection exercise begins, as no bags will be provided.

The surgical masks will come in two boxes of 25 pieces, or one box of 50 pieces. The N95 masks come in one box of 25 pieces.

The masks are standard adult size.

To reduce crowding, 11 of the 15 CapitaLand malls will have a digital queue system for people to get into the queue ahead of time. They will be informed when it is their turn for collection. They can also check the queue length at each collection point before heading down.

The malls with digital queue systems are: Bedok Mall, Bugis Junction, Bukit Panjang Plaza, Funan, IMM, JCube, Junction 8, Lot One, Plaza Singapura, Tampines Mall and Westgate.

Other malls involved in the collection exercise are Aperia, Jewel Changi Airport, Raffles City Singapore and SingPost Centre.

Collection hours at the malls are from 11am to 8pm daily.

Not all malls or supermarkets are collection points. People can go to this website to check the collection points, hours and stock levels.

People can collect the masks on behalf of others by showing their SP account numbers if they have been authorised to do so.

Temasek Foundation reminded people that it is a crime to misuse another household’s information to falsely represent someone to collect the masks.

Temasek chief executive Ho Ching announced the distribution of the free masks in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

She also advised residents not to rush to collect the masks on the first three days of the exercise as there is plenty of stock.

This is the fifth distribution exercise of Temasek Foundation's Stay Prepared initiative, which was introduced to help prepare communities for emergencies such as Covid-19.

Ho had earlier noted that the Delta variant has an infectivity rate of between five and six people.

Temasek Foundation said in a statement on Thursday: "It is important to have better masks ready for higher risk situations. For example, residents with flu symptoms should put on a better mask such as a medical-grade surgical mask to go see a doctor."

It added that people who have tested positive for Covid-19 at home with an antigen rapid test (ART) should put on higher grade masks, like an N95, to visit the doctor for confirmatory Covid-19 tests.

“Ideally, those with symptoms with negative ART results, or are waiting for their test results, should do the same.”

Unlike previous free masks, the masks handed out in this exercise are single-use disposable ones for specific high risk or high exposure situations, and should be disposed of properly for hygiene reasons, it said.

Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng said that everyone has a part to play to help Singapore move towards being a “Covid-19 resilient nation”.

"As we emerge from phase two (heightened alert) and Singapore continues to open up, let us remain diligent in preventing any further outbreaks.

" In addition to good personal hygiene, safe distancing and self-monitoring, mask-wearing has been effective at reducing the spread of airborne respiratory droplets," he said. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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