Distribution of reusable face masks to Singapore residents
06 May 2020
Figure 1: UltraMask+ reusable mask distributed to Singapore residents
All residents are set to receive locally produced, reusable cloth masks in a third mask distribution exercise, towards the end of the circuit breaker period. These masks will be more comfortable to wear and have better filtration qualities. The Government had been working with local manufacturers and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) to improve on the materials used for the reusable masks. Minister Chan also highlighted in the news article that research by A*STAR showed that the reusable cloth masks protect people by preventing saliva and droplets from infecting others, and that “the strategy of using a cloth mask works if all of us mask up together.” In a separate media release, A*STAR said that it worked with Singapore textile company, Ramatex, to design reusable masks, with production having begun in April. Professor Alfred Huan, Executive Director of the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering at A*STAR was interviewed regarding the earlier version of the mask and the new mask. He explained that the earlier version was focused on preventing the spread of Covid-19 in the community and was still useful in that respect. It was, however, not tested for bacterial filtration and recommended that wearers wash the masks gently, with the frequency of washing dependent on how often the masks are worn and whether they are used in crowded or open areas. The news was covered in The Straits Times, Lianhe Zaobao, TODAYonline on 6 and 7 May and also in other local dailies.
Link to news article: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/covid-19-surgical-mask-production-reusable-masks-distributed-12706980
Figure 2: National Day edition of reusable masks co-developed by A*STAR and Ramatex