SINGAPORE: The Government has a national stockpile of 16 million N95 masks that can be released to the market when required, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (Sep 19).
Singapore has been shrouded in haze over the last week, with the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hitting unhealthy levels across the island on Tuesday and Wednesday.
In response to CNA queries, MOH said a total of 260,000 N95 masks were requested by retailers on Sep 12 and Sep 14 "to supplement their own source of supply".
The masks were delivered to the retailers a day after the requests, the ministry added.
READ: Understand the haze: What do Singapore's air quality readings mean and how do they differ from others?
This comes after the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Saturday said that there were "sufficient" stockpiles of N95 masks in response to reports that the masks were sold out at some stores.
"We would like to assure the public that there are sufficient stocks in the warehouses and Government stockpiles," the agency had said in a Facebook post.
The air quality in Singapore has continued to worsen in recent days as the haze reached unhealthy levels.
As of 1am on Thursday, the 24-hour PSI readings ranged between 127 and 152.
According to the National Environment Agency (NEA), PSI readings of 50 and below denote “good” air quality, “moderate” for 51-100 and “unhealthy” for 101-200.
The one-hour PM2.5 reading ranged from 90-111µg/m3 at 1am on Thursday, in the elevated band which ranges from 56-150µg/m3.
PM2.5 is a measure of tiny particles less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter in the air. When the PM2.5 reading is in the elevated range, haze particles can affect the heart and lungs, especially in people who have chronic heart or lung conditions.
According to NEA, one-hour PM2.5 readings are a "good indicator of current air quality", and can be used for those deciding whether to go for immediate outdoor activities, such as a jog.
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