With a population of 5.7 million, Singapore needs at least 160 million face masks a month. But the Singapore government was complacent, ignored the virus outbreak since December and went into firefighting mode today totally unprepared to deal with the crisis. The Wuhan virus outbreak in Singapore started barely a week, and Singapore is already facing severe shortage in face masks.
Health experts have also cautioned against reusing the daily disposable face masks, as bacteria build up even after washing.
The recent 5 million masks from the government’s stockpile distributed to retailers were sold out in less than 3 hours on Thursday (Jan 30), and more than 90% of the Singaporeans are still unable to get them anywhere.
The subsequent 5 million stock meant to distribute to Singapore households – giving only 4 pieces – is a sorry political antic played by the ruling party masquerading as help for the people.
Worsening the problem shortage of face masks is propaganda fake news. Last week, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong claimed that there is no need for anyone to wear face mask if they can self-diagnose they are not unwell. This dangerous practice however expose healthy people to contamination from unwary virus carriers.
On top of Lee Hsien Loong’s ignoramus advice, the government is still proceeding with large events like Chingay and the air show. The People’s Association (PA) even made an astonishing claim saying “there is no evidence” that the virus can spread in crowded places, when human-to-human transmission have been verified all over the world.
Aside from fake news, the government is also distracted by public criticisms on the internet. Calling the shortage of face masks in the country a “fake news”, Trade Minister Chan Chun Sing imposed a POFMA order on news website States Times Review to “correct” its article. Failure to comply warrant a S$1,000,000 fine and a 3 years’ jail, which has been duly ignored by editor Alex Tan who is now a dual Singaporean-Australian citizen.
Minister Chan Chun Sing refused to answer how many face mask does Singapore have currently in stock, and how many face mask are actually in demand in Singapore.