National Development Minister Lawrence Wong and Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing urged members of the public to not hoard the supply of surgical masks, and that priority should be given to healthcare, frontline workers and the vulnerable like the elderly and the sick.
The Multi-Ministry Taskforce members were addressing the media at a press conference this morning at the National Press Centre of the Ministry of Communications and Information.
In response to news of countries like Taiwan banning the export of masks and how this could affect retail supplies, Mr Wong iterated: “This is the reason why we have a national stockpile of surgical masks, and masks in general… and with this stockpile, we will have sufficient supply of masks in Singapore, provided we all use them responsibly.”
On retail stores running out of masks, Mr Chan stated: “We understand that when people are fearful, there is a tendency to panic buy or hoard.
“But this is not very useful to the entire system… We will deprive our essential services, especially the healthcare services, of the masks, and this will in turn jeopardise our entire healthcare system.”
Towards the end of his statement, Mr Wong reiterated: “We would like to call on Singaporeans to please use them [the masks] responsibly… use them only if you are unwell and have to go out to see the doctor.”
Distribution of Masks
From 1 February 2020, masks will be progressively distributed to households through the 89 Community Centres and 654 Residents’ Committee centres island-wide.
This one-time exercise will see masks in packs of fours being distributed to households. Every household will only be allocated one pack.
Mr Wong stated: “We are doing this to assure Singaporeans that every family will have access to masks if someone in your family really needs it.”
Side Story: When and How to Wear Masks