No masks?

No masks?

As there are starting to have several cases of Wuhan Coronavirus in Singapore, people were rushing to buy masks to avoid being infected. However, while reading through the Straits Times half a week ago, I saw this:

advisory on masks

Everything is normal, except — why are we not allowed to wear masks if we are not sick? Isn’t wearing masks the best way to prevent being affected? To my surprise, our school also posted an announcement later today, saying that if we wear masks in school, we would be taken as being infected by the virus and would be sent home because of this. That was probably a common rule now for schools in Singapore. However, what is the point of this rule?

To be honest, I don’t really know, and the news article on the official Singapore government website didn’t mention it either. There were two possible reasons that I can think of. One of them could simply be, to let more people be aware of those potential virus carriers.

The effect of this rule was soon experienced by a neighbor of my sister’s classmate, not long after the article appeared on the newspaper. So my sister’s classmate’s mum was, I think, washing her car downstairs. Since washing a car might have water splashing everywhere (that’s the case for me when I was washing my horse) and it might smell bad, the mum wore a mask, the normal kind of mask, not N95. She went upstairs by the lift of her apartment, and when the door of the lift opened there was an old gentleman standing outside, seeing her mask, too shocked to say anything and out of the mum’s surprise, he fell down just next to her feet.

Well, you may ask, who will wear a mask then, if everyone will be scared of him/her and keep away from him/her if he/she do so? Exactly. It is likely that no one will want to wear a mask anymore if they can choose not to.

Since the second and third case was confirmed in Singapore, there have been long queues and empty shelves at several retail outlets islandwide. Everyone wants to stay safe, and my family was no exception. The night when the 2nd case was confirmed, mum was searching in all online stores in Singapore for masks, and after all of these searching and shopping, we got more than 500 masks delivering to our home. This might seems like a lot in a normal family, but for our family, my 4 grandparents, daddy mummy Ariel and me, our 2 helpers, there are 10 people together. If this novel Coronavirus lasts for 2 months, it is not an unusual thing for us to use 1 or even less a day. Think about this, normally a family will think of buying 500 masks, what about 10 families, 100 families, 1000? As a small island, Singapore apparently does not produce its own masks. These masks that people are trying to get from the retail outlets must be imported from a close and reliable source. Some mask before the virus might be imported in China, but right now, as the place with the most number of people infected, China probably won’t export masks anymore since mask is already short for its own use.

So in a nutshell, the reason why the government wanted to stop people from wearing masks if they are not sick, might be:

  1. letting people to be more aware of those around them since they could be potential virus carriers
  2. Save masks as they are already short in supply in Singapore

Well, it is still undeniable that masks are useful and helpful when preventing infections. There are still risk of no wearing a mask, but since the article is already posted on the newspaper, I guess the advantages of doing so still outweigh the disadvantages. Just be careful everyone ?

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