Wednesday, April 29, 2020

17. Face Mask supply situation in Singapore as at April to May 2020 - How to assess a face mask?

28 Apr 2020

1. I went to NTUC Serangoon Gardens. It sells the following:

1.1  Fabric face masks at $3.50/piece. It does not state whether it is 2-ply or 3-ply. (see photo).
1.2  Polyurethan face masks at $4.90/piece. (see photo).
1.3  Disposable face masks made in China at $28.00/box of 50 (see photo). Last week, it costs $32.00/box.

Generally, there are disposable face masks available in the 3 main pharmacies.

28 Apr 20


1 May 20

Choices Petrol Station now sells disposable face masks - 2 brands.
A box of 50 costs $28.50.   A loose packet of 10 costs $6.00

Watson Pharmacy

As at May 10, 2020, there is an adequate supply of the disposable 3-ply surgical masks in most NTUC supermarkets selling at $28.00 for a box of 50. Watson and Guardian pharmacies have their own brands, made in China.

There are also branded reusable face masks made by companies selling at NTUC.

When buying your masks and respirators, check for the following:
Manufacturer's name clearly printed on the packaging (if the printing is unclear, it could be a counterfeit mask).

Filtration Efficiency (BFE) based on your needs (i.e. dust, odour, airborne bacteria and viruses);

Expiry date (Disposable respirators are valid for about three years from the date of the manufacture;

Sealed box which is stored properly and;

Good fit with no gaps when worn.

For example: This China-made surgical mask claim a BFE = 95% which is what most good quality surgical mask will state in their box. However, some may be fake BFE % and so, you have to check carefully e.g. whether the box is sealed and stored properly.     

BFE  => 95%

BFE => 95%


The Straits Times, May 7, 2020
New cloth masks for all residents as Singapore ramps up production..

Covid-19 virus cases cross 20,000 mark. It took 3 months after Jan 23 when Singapore's first imported case of coronavirus was diagnosed to reach 10,000 on Apr 22. But it took another 2 weeks for the number to hit 20,000 on May 6, 2020. Experts predicted 30,000 cases in May. But containment measures appeared to control the situation.  Case counts rise in a more controlled number.


Ramped up local production of surgical masks to meet Singapore's healthcare needs and tapped diverse sources of mask supplies for the needs of the public. This is a sustainable strategy.

In mid-Feb, ST Engineering rolled off the production line of the first made-in-Singapore surgical mask. Local manufacturers and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research to improve on the materials used for reusable masks.

Trade and Industry Minister  Chan Chun Sing said yesterday that there is a possibility of recurring waves of infection, meaning demand for masks can spike again. The global demand for masks has risen in recent months and many countries cannot produce and export masks owing to lockdowns.

Reusable masks are not "reusable for eternity" despite being a sustainable option. He stressed that "no mask is 100 per cent foolproof.

A 3rd mask distribution exercise of locally produced, reusable cloth masks to all residents. They can get the masks from vending machines, in addition to community centres and resident committee places around June 1, the end of the circuit beaker period.

The masks will be more comfortable to wear and have better filtration qualities.

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