WHO recommendation of wearing surgical masks only when sick
The Government’s recommendation on the use of masks has been based on scientific advice and guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO), and that is for individuals to wear surgical masks only when sick, in order to protect others. This was also when Singapore did not have community spread of the virus.
Singapore’s changing situation
Our situation is now changing. There is increased local transmission in Singapore, and a possibility of some undetected cases in the community. There is also some evidence that infected people showing no symptoms may infect others. This is why the WHO is reviewing its guidelines on mask usage.
Therefore, we will no longer discourage people from wearing masks . Wearing a mask may help to protect others, in case you have the virus but don’t know it. This is so that you keep your droplets to yourself - when you sneeze or speak or cough. It can also protect yourself a little better, especially if you are elderly, or vulnerable because of pre-existing health conditions.
Prime Minister Lee, in his address to nation on 3 Apr on COVID-19 situation
Wearing of reusable masks
For those who need to go out, wear a reusable mask to provide some protection:
Reusable masks complement safe distancing measures and provide some basic protection
The mask helps protect others from you, in case you are infected but unaware
Prioritising surgical masks for healthcare workers
Because there is currently a global shortage of surgical masks, Singapore needs to conserve these masks for those who need them most: our healthcare workers, and those who are sick.
Reusable mask distribution
The mask collection exercise has concluded as of 12 April 2020.