SINGAPORE: Several measures will be put in place as households gear up to collect reusable masks from Sunday (Apr 5) as part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Singapore.
On Friday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the Government will no longer discourage people from wearing face masks and will be distributing reusable masks to all households. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, there is now evidence that an asymptomatic person can still pass on the virus to others.
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To minimise the rush and queue at collection centres for the masks, there will be several measures taken, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing outlined in a Facebook post on Saturday.
Collection times will be spaced out by blocks and precincts to minimise queues, he said. There will also be priority queues for seniors and for those who may need assistance.
There will be as many collection counters as possible too, depending on the number of local volunteers.
“We would very much welcome residents to volunteer at their local RC/CC to help lighten the load,” Mr Chan said.
To simplify the collection process and minimise the time needed for each transaction, Mr Chan said residents can help by collating their family identification cards and collecting as a family instead of turning up individually.
Domestic helpers will also receive the masks, he said. “We should take care of them, as they take care of our families.”
In his post, Mr Chan also acknowledged that posting reusable masks to households was previously considered, but was not implemented for various reasons.
Firstly, he said posting to every household will lead to a “huge wastage” as not everyone may want or need the masks.
“In the recent surgical mask collection exercise, more than 30 per cent of the households did not collect them or think that they needed the masks.
“That would mean wasting more than a million precious masks,” he explained.
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He added: "To pack the masks according to the number of people staying in each household will require much time and manpower effort
"Even if we send an individually packed mask to each individual, that will again take much more effort and time."
He drew on past experiences as well, saying there will be many disputes and uncertainties if individuals in particular households actually received their items.
The reusable masks will be given out from Apr 5 until Apr 12.
Residents will be able to collect their masks at their respective Community Centres and Resident's Committee Centres between 3pm and 9pm on weekdays, and between 10am and 9pm on weekends and public holidays.