MOH Updates Guidelines On Masks, Advises Public To Wear Only Those That Prevent Transmissions

Not long ago, a video of a man’s Facebook livestream where he got into a heated exchange with a bus driver about his mask went viral.

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Beyond its reach, the video also started important discussions about what counts ask proper masks, which left many puzzled.

Hoping to clarify the confusion, the Ministry of Health (MOH) released new guidelines yesterday (29 Aug).

Makeshift coverings not as effective in protecting wearer

Since the incident inevitably raised urgent questions about what constitutes as masks, MOH issued a press release to clear the air.

While the specifics are vague, their stance is clear on one thing — face coverings aren’t as effective and shouldn’t be used.

What MOH has defined as makeshift face coverings are:

  • neck gaiters
  • bandanas
  • scarves
  • handkerchiefs

Basically any piece of cloth that you tie loosely around your face in place of a mask won’t qualify as a proper one.

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MOH explains the rationale behind their guideline,

As these makeshift coverings may not have a good fit around the person’s nose and mouth and are made from materials that are not specific for disease prevention, they may not perform as well as purpose-built masks.

So as long as the above sounds like an apt description of your ‘mask’, you may not be wearing the right one.

MOH advises us to wear specifically-designed masks

To be safe, members of the public should stick to masks designed for the main purpose of preventing disease transmission.

What this means is that your mask should “closely and completely” cover your nose and mouth, “without leaving a gap between the mask and the face”.

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As the effectiveness of the mask is important in keeping community transmissions low, we’d suggest taking note of these guidelines seriously.

Not following guidelines may incur fines

While there are no clear consequences for the wearing of unsuitable masks, there is a $300 fine for those caught not wearing masks.

MOH hasn’t expressly stated that this would apply to individuals wearing makeshift coverings, so we’ll have to see what they have to say about that.

In the meantime, remember to check the guidelines before buying a new mask or wearing one out.

Featured image adapted from Haveeru Online and TAFF Singapore.