Singapore — The COVID-19 outbreak has caused a shortage of face masks in the country, with the Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution having enough for approximately 2 weeks. It is, therefore, calling for donations of the masks to enable it to continue its work.
It is concerned that it may have to cease operations temporarily if it runs out of masks.
The non-profit institution is a “regional centre for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment, scientific research, rehabilitation care, and clinical teaching”.
Singapore currently has 58 cases of confirmed COVID-19. Several clusters of the infection have been identified.
The institution put up notices on its website and Facebook account on Thursday (Feb 13) which read:
CALL FOR DONATION OF SURGICAL FACE MASKS
“The COVID-19 epidemic has caused a shortage of surgical face masks island wide. Our institution too, is facing a severe shortage.
“Currently, our supply of face masks would only last us approximately 2 weeks. In the unfortunate event that our supply runs out, we will have to cease operation until further notice.
“Henceforth, we would like to seek your donation of face masks (new and unused boxes) to tide us over in this period of need. Your kind donation will greatly help our institution to continue serving the public and providing quality TCM treatments.”
The institution is in Toa Payoh and has branches in Yishun, Woodlands, Joo Chiat and Bukit Panjang. It has provided subsidised Traditional Chinese Medical treatment for the sick, regardless of race and religion, since 1952.
The institution’s post has been shared widely, after being highlighted by a reader on the popular Facebook page All Singapore Stuff, captioned: “Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution calling for masks donation. Don’t forget TCM practitioners are healthcare professionals too.”
<Reader's Contribution by Seah>Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution calling for masks donation. Don't forget TCM practitioners are healthcare professionals too.
Some people online have suggested substitutes for disposable surgical masks, such as providing the institution’s practitioners with respirators with filter discs.
While some netizens have stepped up and asked how they can make their donations, others have encouraged the institution to apply to the Government for help.
There was also unhappiness that some of the country’s supplies have been donated overseas.
Others, meanwhile, have said that they are still unable to purchase masks.
One man suggested that the staff could make their own masks.