Singapore — After a message announcing the distribution of medical and N95 masks scheduled for Aug 4 made the rounds, Madam Ho Ching and the Temasek Foundation both posted on Facebook to clarify the matter.
Mdm Ho, the chief executive officer of Temasek Holdings and the wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, showed a photo in her post of a standy from Temasek Foundation that announced that each household would receive 50 pieces of medical-grade surgical masks as well as 25 pieces of N95 respirator masks that could be claimed with upon presentation of Singapore Power (SP) bills.
Temasek Foundation labelled the announcement of the mask distribution as #fakenews.
It further clarified that it was “conducting operational trials for the distribution of medical and N95 masks. This will start in late August or early September,” and asked the public to “Stay tuned on our official channels, for updates about this as well as other items we will be distributing!”
Mdm Ho, on the other hand, called the circulating message, “Half true, half not true.”
She confirmed that the foundation is working with Capitaland malls and participating supermarkets on a trial distribution of masks using household bills, and added that the standy is a photo from one of the pilot trials.
However, she added that it was untrue that distribution would begin on Aug 4.
She clarified that “What is happening from 4 Aug onwards is an end-to-end pilot, not open to the general public.”
Furthermore, Mdm Ho explained that “The idea is to integrate the scanning of SP household bills into the backend of the various systems with the different participating malls and supermarkets.”
For this to happen, people should ensure that they scan the SP bill bar code and then supermarkets and malls would connect with the SP database to see whether that household has already collected their free masks.
According to Mdm Ho, the idea behind doing this in malls is that the distribution of boxes of masks would entail a large space to store the collectable items, and pharmacies do not have enough space to cater for mass collection. Similarly, neither are some supermarkets spacious enough.
Therefore, only large supermarkets will be tapped for the distribution, which will begin at the end of the month.
She asked people to bring their own bags “to save time and cost, as well as to save the planet from more bags.”
Mdm Ho also said that the medical-grade surgical masks to be distributed “are top grade surgical masks with 95 per cent filtration efficiency” and “N95 masks are worn for high-risk jobs, like looking after covid patients, or doing mass swabbing exercises.”
Given the higher transmissibility rate of the Delta variant “we need 80% of a population to wear 80% effective masks or better to squeeze down the infection numbers” she added.
Mdm Ho also said that if someone is exhibiting flu-like symptoms, they should wear an N95 mask when going to see a doctor, and also if they’ve tested positive on an ART test and when visiting someone in a care home or the hospital, if you are unvaccinated.
But for vaccinated people visiting someone in a care home or the hospital, a medical-grade surgical mask will do.
The rest of Mdm Ho’s post may be read here. /TISG
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