At the end of last week, Singaporean activist Gilbert Goh posted a message “from a worried mum” on Facebook who expressed her concerns at her daughter’s school disallowing the children from wearing masks.
"I'm so worried for the school kids. My daughter's school disallowed them to wear masks to school. They said, no need to…
The post read:
“I’m so worried for the school kids. My daughter’s school disallowed them to wear masks to school. They said, no need to wear masks if u are not sick. If u wear masks, means u are sick. But if u are sick, then u shouldnt be in school.
This sparked a heated discussion on the matter, with another parent relaying a similar incident where a school reportedly tried to stop children from wearing masks:
This comes after PM Lee assured the nation at the end of January that only sick people need to wear masks.
On Wednesday (Feb 12), Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, director of medical services at the Ministry of Health (MOH), also announced that wearing a mask is not the most critical action in keeping protected against the coronavirus. Proper hygiene—such as washing one’s hands thoroughly and sanitising your mobile phone—can be more effective, as the virus is spread via droplets. There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is airborne.
Despite this advise, people have continued to take precautions and wear masks, out of a sense of security amidst fears of coronavirus infection. Parents especially are taking extra measures to keep their children safe and free from infection.
Wearing masks is a matter of choice and personal freedom, said these users, defending parents’ choices to have their children wear masks to schools:
On Thursday (Feb 13), another Singaporean parent posted on the same issue on the Concerned Citizens Band Together for a Better Singapore Facebook group:
A second parent chimed in, noting that their kid’s school had also asked the child to remove their mask:
Concerned citizens contributed their opinions on the matter, questioning why schools would disallow students from wearing masks for extra protection during the outbreak:
The original poster said that they wrote to the Ministry of Education (MOE) regarding the incidents of teachers discouraging students from wearing masks:
Dr Leong Hoe Nam, an Infectious Diseases Physician at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, said that those who need to wear masks are high-risk individuals, such as those who are sick, over the age of 65 and obese.
Singaporeans are taking as many precautions as possible amidst the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, which has infected a total of 58 persons in the country so far (as of 6am on Friday, Feb 14) and caused a shortage of medical supplies such as surgical masks and hand sanitisers as a result. /TISG