There was a false statement on The States Times Review Facebook page on the supply of surgical masks in Singapore. The page is run by Mr Alex Tan, who lives in Australia.
At 10.10am on 30 January 2020, The States Times Review said on its Facebook page that Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Transport, Dr Lam Pin Min confirmed that Singapore had run out of face masks, and insinuated that Dr Lam Pin Min was blaming Singaporeans for “insensible and irresponsible” use of surgical masks. Mr Tan also posted that Singapore had run out of masks since last Sunday, less than three days after the first confirmed case.
In his Facebook post on 28 January 2020, Dr Lam Pin Min was clearly pictured in a warehouse which showed part of the Government stockpile of surgical masks. His Facebook post also stated clearly that there is sufficient supply of masks if people use them sensibly and responsibly.
On 30 January 2020, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said in a press conference that the Singapore Armed Forces would begin packing more than 5.2 million surgical masks this afternoon. The masks would be distributed to local resident households in packets of four surgical masks per household from this Saturday. This clearly indicates that Singapore has not run out of face masks for Singaporeans. During the same press conference, both Minister Lawrence Wong and Mr Chan informed the media that the Government had distributed more than 5 million surgical masks from the stockpile to retailers over the last nine days, which had all been snapped up immediately.
Although the stockpile is currently sufficient to meet the needs of our public healthcare institutions, we must continue to manage the private usage rate and prioritise the allocation of surgical masks to those who need it the most. This includes our healthcare workers on the frontline and the vulnerable within our society. The Ministry of Trade and Industry is actively working on identifying new suppliers of surgical masks and will continue to ensure that existing lines of supplies are kept robust.
We advise members of the public to not speculate and/or spread unfounded rumours. Please visit www.moh.gov.sg
for updates on the Wuhan coronavirus situation.