The Ministry of Health (MOH) revealed today (19 Sept) that the Government maintains a national stockpile of 16 million N95 masks that can be released to the market when required. The MOH’s announcement comes as the nation has been shrouded in unhealthy levels of haze over the last week.
The ministry added that retailers requested 260,000 masks “to supplement their own source of supply” last week and the required number of masks were promptly delivered to the retailers after they submitted the requests.
On Saturday, the National Environment Agency (NEA) reassured Singaporeans that there are “sufficient” stocks of N95 masks in Singapore in response to concerns that the masks may be sold out in stores as the air quality worsened.
The authority said: “We would like to assure the public that there are sufficient stocks in the warehouses and Government stockpiles.”
The NEA also announced this week that the Government is setting up a Haze Task Force (HTF) comprising 28 government agencies to enforce measures “for the protection of the health and well-being of the public”.
Revealing that the HTF will meet annually in May, the NEA said in a statement that the task force will be in charge of issuing advisories for different population segments such as motorists and students.
The air quality in Singapore plummeted over the last week due to a persistent haze that arose from fires in the Sumatra and Kalimantan regions of Indonesia. Yesterday evening (18 Sept), Singapore rose to the third rank in AirVisual’s live list of cities with the worst air quality in the world.
Singapore was not in the top 10 of AirVisual’s ranking of major cities on Monday but reached the sixth spot on Tuesday morning. Hours later, Singapore climbed up to the third spot.
Air quality improved this morning as the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) levels in Singapore fell to the low end of the unhealthy range. PSI readings of 0 to 50 represent “good” air quality, while 51 to 100 is considered “moderate”, 101-200 is classified as “unhealthy”.