Temasek Foundation starts distribution of surgical masks to lower-income families
More than 10 people were already in line before a customer service counter at Junction 8 was scheduled to start handing out free masks at 11am on Monday (Feb 28).
The Bishan location is among more than 160 collection points in Temasek Foundation's latest mask distribution exercise.
It is offering a box of 50 medical grade surgical masks to all lower-income families and individuals to protect themselves against Covid-19 and the current Omicron wave.
The initiative, which started on Monday, will end on March 13.
Collection locations include shopping malls such as Tampines Mall and Northpoint City in Yishun, as well as supermarkets such as specific Sheng Siong and FairPrice outlets.
By noon, more than 1,200 boxes of masks had been collected at Junction 8.
The customer service counter started distributing them before the official starting time of 11am as many residents arrived early in hopes of avoiding the wait.
Madam Rina Chia, 55, a customer service staff at the mall, said the collection process was fast and smooth, with the public queuing in an orderly manner.
Elderly residents were not required to wait in line as volunteers guided them to the front of the queue.
Members of the public have to present a blue or orange Community Health Assistance Scheme (Chas) card, or their Public Assistance or Special Grant card during collection.
Family members or friends may collect on their behalf.
Temasek Foundation said these AIR+ masks are highly breathable and gentle on the skin, with a bacteria filtration efficiency of 99.9 per cent.
The masks - which are available in only one size - are suitable for high exposure situations, such as hospital or clinic visits. They are shown to be more effective than simple fabric masks in reducing Omicron transmission, said the foundation.
Ms Woon Saet Nyoon, chief executive of Temasek Foundation Cares, said residents should wear masks of better quality in high-risk situations.
She added: "It helps to mitigate the spread of the virus and protect ourselves."
The same sentiment is shared by Ms Serena Teo, who helped to give out the masks at Junction 8.
"Helping to distribute masks is a way to play a part in fighting Covid-19 as masks are truly the first line of defence against the pandemic," said the deputy chief executive of Ascott Residence Trust, who has been volunteering for more than 20 years.
Monday's effort, which is part of Temasek Foundation's Stay Prepared initiative, is its seventh mask distribution exercise.
The public can visit the Stay Prepared website to find out about collection points and collection hours.
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