COVID: Singapore to advise use of face masks with good filtration capability

·Assistant News Editor
·2-min read

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) will issue new guidelines on the use of face masks with good filtration capability, such as those having at least 95 per cent bacterial filtration efficiency.

The announcement was made at a virtual media briefing by the multi-ministerial taskforce on COVID-19 on Tuesday (18 May).

"Based on the latest evidence of the new strain being more transmissible and possibilities of aerosolised transmission, that simply means that the mask that you wear for protection ought to be of higher filtration capabilities," said Finance Minister and MTF co-chair Lawrence Wong. 

In a media release, the Ministry of Health said that masks with better protection, such as those with better filtration efficiency, will help to mitigate the increased risks of transmission and infection. These include reusable masks that are made of at least two layers of fabric, and surgical masks.

Single-use masks typically report their filtration efficiency in their product specifications. Reusable masks such as those issued by the People’s Association and Temasek Foundation also have good filtration efficiency, said the ministry.

Authorities are advising against the use of masks with exhalation vents as they do not accord sufficient protection against the virus.

MOH and the Health Sciences Authority will issue guidelines to help the public in choosing good masks.

"Good quality masks worn well and properly provide an excellent form of protection for all of us against how the virus spreads, irrespective of whether it spreads by droplets or some of aerosolised transmission, said director of medical services Kenneth Mak on Tuesday.

"Wearing a good mask, wearing it properly makes sense and is the right thing to do."

Earlier Tuesday, MOH confirmed 38 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, taking the country's total case count to 61,651.

Of them, 27 are local transmissions in the community, of whom 16 are linked to previous cases. Amongst them, 14 had already been placed on quarantine earlier.

Eleven remaining cases are imported, of whom six are returning Singaporeans or permanent residents.

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