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Free N95 and surgical masks at selected supermarkets, malls from Aug 26

The mask distribution exercise is part of an initiative by Temasek Foundation.

Free N95 and surgical masks at selected supermarkets, malls from Aug 26

A man putting on a surgical mask. (Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)

SINGAPORE: Each household in Singapore may collect 50 medical-grade surgical masks and 25 N95 masks at selected supermarkets and malls from Aug 26, as part of a Temasek Foundation initiative. 

Providing details of its latest mask distribution exercise, Temasek Holdings chief executive Ho Ching said the collection period will last for a month.

"So do consider avoiding the first three days of collection - past experiences show these to likely have peak demand before the numbers cool down to a steady pace," Mdm Ho said in a Facebook post on Tuesday (Aug 17).

The masks can be collected at larger supermarkets from chains including Sheng Siong, Prime, NTUC FairPrice, Cold Storage and Giant, as well as selected CapitaLand malls.

"These are bulky items - so pharmacies will not be participating in this exercise, as their outlets are too small to carry much stock," Mdm Ho wrote, adding that the public can go online to get information on the 131 participating outlets.

Residents collecting their masks will need to present an electronic or paper SP Group utility bill showing their account number. They should also bring their own bag to carry the masks, said Mdm Ho.

DELTA COVID-19 VARIANT

The upcoming mask distribution exercise was made public by Mdm Ho on Aug 4, when she announced that Temasek Foundation was offering free medical-grade surgical masks because the Delta variant is twice as contagious as previous COVID-19 variants.

"With an infectivity of five to six others for each COVID patient, we need 80 per cent of a population to wear 80 per cent effective masks or better to squeeze down the infection numbers," she wrote then.

"There are many kinds of face masks in the market of varying quality. The reusable double layer masks as well as many of the pleated disposal masks can offer protection of about 80 per cent.

"With the medical-grade surgical and N95 masks with effectiveness of 95 per cent or better, we have an additional option for better protection."

On the lifespan of the masks, she wrote: "A 95 per cent effective mask will take four to five years to drop to 80 per cent effectiveness, still better than normal face masks found in the market."

Temasek Foundation last month offered a free oximeter to all households to allow people to monitor their blood oxygen regularly.

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Source: CNA/dv(gs)

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