Tuesday, March 31, 2020

10. Face Mask Research. April 2020. Government-issued face masks

April 15, 2020

It is over a month, but the 3 big pharmacies have no surgical masks to sell. So, the general population has to look for suppliers. Most wear other types of masks. Seletar Shopping Mall. No surgical masks for sale. 

However, in April 14, 2020, NTUC at Serangoon Gardens sell surgical masks at $32 for a box of 50 pieces. All the fabric face masks were sold out on April 13, 2020.

As seen on April 15, 2020, more Singaporeans wear face masks when they go out. Many wear the government-issued face masks which were issued in white, black and yellowish-brown polyurethane colours.

April 3, 2020. Value Store store in Toa Payoh Hub has a large number of face masks for sale.

Unity Pharmacy has two types of face masks for sale

Guardian Pharmacy in Toa Payoh has limited stock of fabric face mask for sale.
Watson Pharmacy said it has not stock of any face masks for sale.

From April 5 to 12, 2020, the Singapore Government gave Singaporeans a face mask each. There appeared to be 4 types - white, jean-material, Cori Supermask and the black fabric face masks. Collection of these reusable face masks are done from the community centres or resident committees.

Two images of the Government-issued face masks are:

A free government-issued fabric face mask

Some of the wearers of the government-issued masks are shown below:

3-ply fabric face masks collected from the community centre
or residents' committee in HDB apartment blocks.

Government-issued face mask meant for adults, but the government
did not issue specific kid's face masks. Only adult face masks.

One size fits all. No children's size as this government-issued
mask is meant for adults

Adult size - 3-ply fabric face mask

Cori Supermask (left) is a polyurethane face mask sold in some NTUC supermarkets at $4.90

Despite increasing Covid-19 cases every day, less than 10% of the Singapore residents wear face masks when they go out and be with large groups.

Few Singapore residents wear face masks before April 15, 2020 as seen
in this image of the queue at Toa Payoh Hub
If they wear face masks, around 90% wear the "surgical" mask which is supposed to be single-use.

The child is wearing an adult face mask which is not suitable for her. Children's face
masks are difficult to source, hence many parents improvise using adult ones.

Kid's face mask

Bought from Lorong 7, Toa Payoh wet market at $1.00

Juice shop at a mall. She purchased her own fabric face mask

As at April 8, 2020, the Singapore Government is looking for sewers to make 50,000 face masks.A law was just introduced to stop gatherings for parties even with relatives inside the home. People are advised to wear a face mask when going out as there are asymptomatic Covid-19 people.

Partial lockdown from Apr 7 to May 4. The essential services are permitted to open. The others work from home. Playgrounds and public fitness areas are taped to prevent communal meetings. People are fined for not keeping the social distancing. Government officers check retail shops to ensure social distancing is carried out.

MON 20 APR 20

In the afternoon, went to a GP to get right ear irrigated as it was impacted with ear wax. 6 days of ear-wax dissolving ear drops were used at two drops 3 x per day. No more ringing or hard-to-hear ringing sounds inside the ear.

Went to Seletar Mall NTUC. All shoppers wore masks (compulsory since 14 Apr) and two ladies checked at entrance to ensure shoppers wore masks. I went to a fruit stall to buy two slices of pineapples. I pulled down my mask to talk to the ladies. A lady in her 40s locked eyes with me and told me to wear the mask. Fortunately I had not got the pineapples as I would have eaten them and got fined. No eating but can buy home to eat. I quickly wore my mask to avoid a fine of $300. The lady could be the "ambassador" for Covid-19 social distancing and mask wearing enforcement.

Later I went to Cold Storage Greenwich V mall as NTUC Seletar had no stock of white sugar and tomatoes. I bought the brown sugar.

MASK SITUATION at Seletar Mall and Greenwich V Mall.
1. Watson - Selling surgical masks at $32 for a box of 50. China made.
2. Guardina - Selling surgicla masks at $11.40 per packet. Agent re-packing likely.
3. Unity Pharmacy - Some face mask

1.  Around 80% wear surgical masks, mostly blue in colour.
2. Fabric face masks about 10%. Mostly black from government-issued masks,  free of charge. 
3. Others - polyurethane Cori supermask, self-sewn, old paper masks (one retiree).

Monday, March 30, 2020

9. Face Mask. A polyurethane mask with an inside pocket holding a filter

March 30, 2020

I went to the supermarket to buy a water melon.  The cashier at the counter wore a pale pink polyurethane face mask.

"Where did you buy this mask?" I asked her through my black fabric mask.
"I bought it from a shop in Boon Lay."
"Does it have a filter?"

She took off her face mask, put her right hand inside a pocket in the inner surface of the mask.
"There is a white filter stuffed into this pocket."

"How much does it cost?" I was impressed as previous polyurethane face masks I saw had no pocket for filters.

"The mask and filter cost $10.00,"  she said.
"Any sale of a replacement filter?' I asked.
"No," she replied. "I just buy another set when the filter is soiled."

Sunday, March 29, 2020

8. Face Mask. Discoloured "surgical" face masks

Mar 30, 2020

These masks looked soiled.

Best not to use such discoloured surgical face masks packed in loose packings. The above masks were issued to employees of a government institution.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

7. Face Mask. Employees buy their own surgical face masks

March 29, 2020

The government hospitals provide the single-use surgical masks to their front line people. Each employee gets 2 masks per work day. Some big restaurants and supermarkets provide surgfical masks to their employees as they source supplies from Vietnam or China now.

Many companies cannot afford to give employees the single-use surgical face masks as it will be too costly. So they buy their own surgical face masks. As at April 5, 2020, a box of 50 surgical face mask sold by Value Dollar Store in Toa Payoh Hub was S$35. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, they were much lower in selling prices.

6. Face Masks. Children's face masks are sold out during the Covid-19 pandemic

March 29, 2020

Children's masks generally do not have filters. Usually meant to wear in dusty situations. However, they are sold out in OG departmental stores and other stores.

Out of stock in OG departmental store. Looks good with a dinosaur in the front area. It has no filter.

There may be some selling online. Some parents use the adult face masks for protection of the child when they go outdoors. Many children objected to mask wearing. 

5. Face Masks. N95 respirators

March 29, 2020

N95 respirators are used by frontline healthcare workers. 3M is the main brand trusted by the hospitals. The other brands from South Korea, Vietnam, China and other countries are of varying quality and are much cheaper. These brands are sometimes referred to as non-medical N95 respirators or masks.

Members of the public generally do not need to wear them, but some do. A tourist at the Esplanade below is shown wearing the N95 mask. There is the exhalation valve. Prices are as low as $8.00 per mask in March. 

4. Face mask. For airline travel

March 29, 2020


3. Face Mask Research. A $2.50 reusable fabric face mask

March 29, 2020

Fabric face masks sold at wet markets in Toa Payoh, Tiong Bahru, Clementi and Compass One shopping mall shop in March 2020.  They do not have a core filter but some claim to be 3-ply. The 3-ply or 3 layers are all fabric as filters are expensive and will cost more.

Nose clip is a short sharp wire about 3 inches long

Compare the above to the researched commercial reusable fabric face masks being sold by

3-ply molded reusable fabric face mask supplied by sinpets.com has been researched
to be moisture repellent on the inner and outer surfaces. It is comfortable, easy to breathe, andwashable. 
It has no chemical smell or is irritating to the face as compared to many disposable 3-ply surgical masks
presently sold in retail shops in Singapore in April/May 2020.

This mask has a centre moisture repellent filter.  Why is this important?

The moisture repellent filter in this mask passes the WATER TEST. When you place a drop of water or 10 ml of water onto the inner surface of the mask, there is no leakage. You repeat the test on the outer surface. There is also no leakage as the mask contains the water.

Moisture refers to traces of water. If the filter repels moisture, it will protect the wearer from the splatter of respiratory or blood droplets from another person who sneezes and coughs at close quarters. The mask's outer surface repels the droplets.

If the wearer has coughs, his or her respiratory droplets will not pass through the inner surface as the filter repels the droplets, preventing them from landing onto the other person's face. This is especially important to protect family members or others in a COVID-19 outbreak as the coronavirus (Covid-19) is transmitted by respiratory droplets even from a person who looks well and has no symptoms.

Corporate and Individual Buyers (local and overseas):

The 3-ply and 4-ply Premium Reusable Fabric Face masks marketed by sinpets are NOT sold online.  Let us know which of the 3 types of the reusable face masks you wish to order. Prices depend on the  number of masks required.

2. Face Mask research. Sales of face masks in Singapore in March 2020

Sales of face masks

Saturday 28 March 2020.

For the past one month, I did a survey on face masks in Singapore shopping malls and neighbourhood shops. These are my findings:


1.1 Watson, Guardian and Unity Pharmacies are out of stock of all surgical masks for at least one month. They are still out of stock. Last fortnight, I saw a queue buying surgical face masks from Watson at Northpoint Mall. Within one hour, the stock was out.

1.2  Hospitals and dental clinics have no problem getting the regulated surgical masks as they order in bulk and have contracts. Frontline health workers change masks twice a day at work, before and after lunch. Their mask quality has certain standards unlike the ones sold in neighbourhood shops and malls.

1.3  Neighbourhood shops. Very few do sell surgical masks imported from Vietnam and Thailand. I was referred to the only one near the Tiong Bahru wet market. The "surgical masks" were sold at $8.00 for a packet of 10. "Take it or leave it," the proprietor seemed stressed. One shop in Toa Payoh Lor 7 sells similar packets at $7.00 for 10 pieces.

1.4  Retail shops in malls. Very few do sell surgical mask. Venus beauty product retail shops sell face masks now and then, but was out of stock in its Seletar Mall branch when I visited on Monday 23 March 2020.

1.5  One or two retail shops in the Waterway Point Mall and Northpoint Mall sell surgical masks.
The price is $49.90 for a box of 50. One sells children's masks for similar prices. All these masks are not regulated or certified by the recognized international bodies. Prices are now $1.00 per mask!

2. "N95" FACE MASK.

2.1 Last week I saw "N95 "respirator face masks (Woorhitech Face Masks) being sold in OG departmental store. "We have only 200", the salesgirl told me.

2.2 One importer with contact in Vietnam N95 distributes face masks. But I cannot find the retail shops.


3.1  Choice (ex-Singapore Petroleum Company) Petrol Stations used to sell Pitta Masks (made in Japan) at $6.90 for 3 in a packet. That was one month ago. No stock when I asked the Toa Payoh Lor 6 branch.

3.2. Challenger shops in 2 shopping malls sell another brand of the polyurethane masks at $6.90/mask in some branches. They sell out fast and are out of stock when I ask for them.

3.3 NTUC sells another brand called Cori Supermask at $6.90/mask


4.1. Fabric masks at 3 for $10.00 may be sold at wet markets in Clementi, Toa Payoh and Tiong Bahru. I saw some being sold at Compass One stall. They are displayed exposed in a large bunch.

4.2 Some Grab Food bikers and others in the mall shops wear "biker's mask". They buy them very cheaply from Johor.


5.1. Unity Pharmacy at Waterpoint Mall did sell fabric face masks last week.

5.2. NTUC supermarket sold fabric masks of two types in the last 2 weeks at $3.50 and $4.90 each. Now, there are no more fabric masks for sale. There are some polyurethane masks (Cori Supermasks) for sale now.  Cold Storage and Giant supermarkets do not sell the face masks.

6.1  Motherworks. All children's face masks are sold out.
6.2. NTUC Fairprice online shops selling children's face masks - all out of stock.

6.3. OG departmental store. All children's masks are sold out.
All the children's face masks do not have the 3-ply but they are sold out as parents are very concerned about their children's exposure to the deadly Covid-19 virus. The children's masks are sold at more than $15.00 each and yet they are sold out.


Shocking footage shows how workers were IRONING used face masks before selling them again in Thailand. Police raided the factory in Saraburi province 65 miles north of Bangkok yesterday (March 2) after complaints about the dodgy masks being sold to locals desperate for protection against the deadly coronavirus. The group were allegedly collecting dirty and discarded surgical masks, putting them through a washing machine and dryer, ironing them, repackaging them before selling them again as new. Surgical masks are in short supply due to panic-buying as the deadly coronavirus covid-19 currently sweeping across the world kills over hundred thousands of people. A Thai factory was discovered to be re-cycling the coronavirus masks for resale. See the video at:

As the number of Covid-19 cases keep increasing in Singapore, there is a tremendous demand in buying face masks to protect against the deadly coronavirus. "Surgical" face masks are in great demand but as at March 30, 2020, a box of 50 costs $49.90. A packet of 10 pieces cost $7.00 - $8.00 if you can find the seller.

Online sales are risky as the Buyer cannot ensure that the single-use face masks have had not been collected, washed and sell again. Recently, a Lucky Plaza shop was discovered to have sold such recycled masks.  


1.  OG Departmental Store, Orchard Road
"N95" respirator type at $6.90 for one mask seen by me in March 20, 2020. 

OG Departmental Store in 3rd week of March

Woorhitech  Face Mask sold in OG

2.  OG Departmental Store, Orchard Road
Children's mask worn by a boy, seen by me in a shopping mall, in March 20, 2020. "His father bought it for him from OG," the mother told me. "It does not have a filter."

I went to OG, but it was all sold out. The supplier had not re-stocked for some time. Many parents buy such masks on line. They have no filters. Children's mask without filters now sell as much as $16.90 online. NTUC Fairprice's online shop has no stock of children's mask as at Mar 30, 2020.

Children's mask (without filters) are  out of stock in OG. Suppliers have not re-stocked

3.  Surgical face masks sold in some shopping malls in Singapore
Sold in Northpoint City Mall

Sold in Northpoint City Mall at $49.90 for a box of 50 masks.
Imported from Vietnam or Thailand.

Almost $1.00 per surgical mask as at Mar 28, 2020. Another retail shop sells adult and children's
"surgical" face masks at same price. 
Sold at Waterway Point Mall

Sold in Kimoj at Waterway Point Mall

Sold at Value Dollar shop in Waterway Point Mall. Seen during
the 3rd week of March. Also sells thermometers and hand sanitisers.

4.  Polyurethane masks sold in Choices Petrol Station and a few retail shops in some shopping malls in Singapore

4.1  Pitta Polyurethane masks
sold by Choices Petrol Stations and Challenger Computer Stores at the cashier counter. No stock for the past one month. I bought four packets from Choices in Mar 2, 2020 from the Jalan Leban station after being referred to it by the Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 station which was out of stock. I paid $9.90 for a packet of 3.

Choices Petrol Station at Jalan Leban

$9.90 for a packet of 3 masks. Sold in some branches like Jalan Leban, Ang Mo Kio Ave 4.
Sold out within days in early March 2020. No stock nowadays.

Pitta Masks sold by Choices Petrol Station. A packet of 3 masks was sold for $9.90. Sold
out within days. Not 3-ply.  No stock for the past one month.
4.2  Pictet Polyurethane masks sold by Challenger Computer Stores

$6.90/Pictet Mask sold by some Challenger Computer shops. Sold out at $6.90/mask in a few branches now.

5.  Fabric and Polyurethane masks sold in NTUC supermarkets and Unity Pharmacy.NTUC supermarkets had at least 2 brands of fabric face masks and one brand of polyurethane face mask being sold near the cashier counter in the first 3 weeks of March 2020.  As at March 30, 2020, the Tiong Bahru branch sells only one brand of fabric face mask selling at $3.50 per piece. Another branch in Northpoint City sells the polyurethane masks (Cori Supermask) selling at $4.90 per piece.

Its Unity pharmacy at Waterway Point shopping Mall sold the above-mentioned types when I visited in March 20, 2020.

As at Mar 30, 2020, only this type of fabric mask is
sold at the NTUC supermarket in Tiong Bahru Plaza at $3.50/mask

Fabric face mask was sold in early March. Does not state that it had filters. No stock is seen now. 

Cori Supermask sells at $4.90 each

Cori Supermask (left) issued by the Singapore Government to Singaporeans

3 brands of masks for sale in the NTUC supermarket in early March 2020.
Top shelf contains the Cori Supermask ($4.90 per mask). The 3-ply fabric mask (with filter) at
 $4.90 per piece is at the middle tier. Below is the cloth face mask (without any mention of filter).
As at Mar 28, 2020, only the Cori Supermask and the $3.50 fabric face mask is in stock.

6. Motorbiker's mask  without filters are sold in Johor at 5 Malaysian dollar. 

Motorbiker's mask without filter sells at S$5/mask in Johor.
Some food and beverage staff wears them as the
employer cannot afford to provide "surgical masks" for weeks.
7.  Inexpensive fabric face masks are sold in some wet markets in Toa Payoh, Clementi, Tiong Bahru. You need to look for them as there are not many selling. In March 20, 2020, one clothing stall in Compass One shopping mall sells them at $10 for 3 pieces. Displayed without packaging and exposed.

I bought one at $2.50. The nose clip or wire was painful. The mask did not cover my chin
and it was hard to breathe