Saturday, 23 May 2020

Singapore residents to get improved version of reusable masks from 26 May to 14 June 2020, as part of the third mask collection exercise

New free masks more comfortable, have better filtration
Residents can collect them from CCs, RCs or vending machines from Tuesday, 26 May
By Calvin Yang, The Straits Times, 22 May 2020

Singapore residents can collect new reusable masks from Tuesday, in a third mask distribution exercise that will span three weeks.

The latest distribution of these masks - which are more comfortable to wear and have better filtration qualities - will take place until June 14. The previous two rounds in February and April lasted about a week each.

About six million reusable masks have been prepared for this exercise, similar to the previous one. Collection counters will be set up at 109 community clubs (CCs) and 661 residents' committee centres (RCs) across Singapore.

This time, residents can also pick them up from 24-hour vending machines. About 400 machines will be placed at all CCs for those unable to pick up their free masks from the collection counters.

Residents with a valid identification card can collect one reusable mask each. This includes foreign domestic workers, foreign workers not living in dormitories and international students living in hostels. The Manpower Ministry will distribute masks to foreign workers living in dormitories.

Residents who want to pick up their masks from CCs or RCs can do so only from 10am to 6pm daily during the first week of the collection period, from Tuesday to June 1.

Those who want to collect their masks from vending machines can do so at any time during the three-week period.

This will give everyone access to the masks without having to rush for them, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing told reporters yesterday during a visit to Pek Kio Community Centre.

The vending machines, provided by Temasek Foundation, will be operational from 10am on Tuesday. Each machine has an attached guide comprising three steps on how to collect the masks.

The reusable masks, available in adult and children sizes, use new materials to improve their comfort and resistance to droplets.

They are made of at least three layers of material and have a filtration efficiency of at least 95 per cent, even after 30 washes.

Mr Chan, who is also deputy chairman of the People's Association, said the Government had distributed the first generation of reusable masks last month because they were the "fastest available" at that time.

It was already looking for newer materials to make better masks back then, he added. "So, there was a gap between the first batch of reusable masks, which was a basic cloth material, and the second batch of reusable masks, which is an improved cloth material."

To avoid crowding at the collection points, residents are encouraged to collect the masks on behalf of those who live with them. They have to bring along their household members' identification cards, birth certificates or any government-issued identification with a barcode.

Safe distancing measures and temperature taking will be in place at the collection points. The high-touch areas of the vending machines are treated with a self-disinfecting coating that can last for three months. The machines will be cleaned and restocked regularly.

Priority for children-size masks will be given to those aged 12 years old and below.

Mr Chan said stockpiling masks for future disruptions has to be an ongoing effort.

"Nobody knows how long and how widespread this pandemic will be, and one should never be complacent about any supply lines, including masks," he added.

Pre-school children, students to get face shields and hand sanitiser from Temasek Foundation
By Jolene Ang, The Straits Times, 22 May 2020

Pre-school and primary school pupils will receive a reusable face shield each, as an alternative to face masks, as they prepare to head back to school from June 2.

Temasek Foundation said on Friday (May 22) it is partnering the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) and the Ministry of Education in this initiative.

Pre-school, primary, secondary, special education and junior college students will also each be given two bottles of hand sanitiser - one 50ml pocket-sized sanitiser to carry with them, and a larger bottle of 500ml to refill the smaller one.

The sanitiser solution is made up of 40 per cent isopropyl alcohol and 0.1 per cent benzalkonium chloride - a disinfectant that can be used against coronaviruses.

Temasek Foundation said it is working with its partners to ensure that all schools can receive these items by June 8.

"Given the logistics involved, some students may not receive the items on the first day they return to school. Should this be the case, we encourage parents to ensure their pre-school and primary school children use their own masks or face shields in school in the interim," the foundation added.

All pre-school teachers and staff will also receive a face shield and an oximeter, which measures the level of oxygen in blood, as they may have to come into closer contact with children.

Some have already received these, while others will receive them over the next few weeks, the foundation said.

Meanwhile, students, service contractors and staff at the Institute of Technical Education will each be given a pair of MaskSafe DET30 reusable masks, one 50ml pocket-sized hand sanitiser to carry with them and a 500ml bottle of sanitiser.

With a "wash one, wear one" approach, the pair of MaskSafe reusable masks can be used daily for up to two months.

The initiative is expected to benefit more than 650,000 students, and 42,000 teachers and contract staff.

Ms Koh Lin-Net, chief executive of Temasek Foundation Nurtures, said: "These efforts are part of our Stay Prepared initiative to support the Singapore community during this COVID-19 period.

"We would like to do our part and help our children and teachers to stay safe by equipping them with a face shield or mask and also hand sanitiser that will come in handy when they have no immediate access to soap and water."

ECDA chief executive Jamie Ang said face shields and sanitisers are important for safe management practices.

"These contributions will help our community stay COVID-safe together as we prepare to resume services in phases from June 2," said Ms Ang.





No comments:

Post a Comment