While surgical masks are no longer in short supply, Temasek Foundation and the Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI) recognised the need to help lower-income families and individuals to have access to better masks for protection as we face the Omicron wave.
Hence, Temasek Foundation and its partners are supporting MTI to offer one free box of 50 AIR+ medical grade surgical masks to Singaporeans with either Blue or Orange Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) cards, and others with Public Assistance/Special Grant cards  .
This Stay Prepared initiative supplements the distribution of AIR + reusable masks with N95 grade filters, that were distributed last month to all Singapore residents.
About the AIR+ Medical Grade Surgical Masks
The AIR+ medical grade surgical masks are available in one box of 50 pieces.
The AIR+ medical grade surgical masks are highly breathable, hypoallergenic, with high filtration efficiency of 99.9% for bacteria and over 98% for particles.
The AIR+ medical grade surgical masks offer high levels of protection. Tested to ASTM Level II standards for hospital grade surgical masks, these three-ply masks filter 99.9 per cent of bacteria and over 98 per cent of particles. The outer layer is resistant against bodily fluids, and the inner layer absorbs moisture and respiratory emissions.
The masks are also gentle on the skin, as they are made from hypoallergenic materials. More importantly, these AIR+ surgical masks are 40% more breathable than most other high quality surgical masks in the market.
These masks are suitable for the general public  to use in specific higher risk or higher exposure situations, such as visiting a clinic or hospital. They should be disposed of properly for hygiene and public health reasons.
All masks come in one standard adult size, so no measurements are required.
Collection starts on Monday, 28 February 2022 and ends on Sunday, 13 March 2022, at over 160 collection points, comprising select CapitaLand, Frasers Property, and City Developments Limited shopping malls, and participating supermarket outlets of Sheng Siong, NTUC FairPrice, Prime Supermarket, Cold Storage, and Giant.
Do note that not all malls or supermarkets are collection points. Residents may go online to stayprepared.sg/masks to find their nearest collection points and stock levels as well as collection hours. They may also look out for the posters at the participating collection points.
Bring along Blue or Orange CHAS cards or Public Assistance/Special Grant cards
Singaporeans with Blue or Orange CHAS cards, and others with Public Assistance/Special Grant cards must present their valid cards at the collection points to collect their masks.
Family members and friends may also collect on their behalf, by bringing their respective cards  to any of the collection points island-wide. They must have authorisation to collect masks on behalf of another individual.
It is a crime to misuse another individual’s card or NRIC number to falsely represent such authorisation to collect the masks.
The participating collection points are equipped with security cameras. Temasek Foundation and our partners will provide the relevant information to the police to assist in their investigations into any unauthorised collection of masks. Those who dishonestly deprive others of collecting their masks through fraudulent methods of obtaining their personal information to misuse this for personal gain, will be dealt with sternly, in accordance with the law.
Hotline and Email for Enquiries
Please visit stayprepared.sg/masks or follow Temasek Foundation on Facebook for more information on this #StayMasked distribution.
The 1800-738-2000 hotline is open from Wednesday, 23 February 2022 to Sunday, 13 March 2022, 9am to 6pm daily (except on Public Holidays).
Enquiries or feedback may also be emailed to email@example.com.
Staying Vigilant, Building Resilience
Every Singapore resident plays an important role to continue to be vigilant against latest wave of infections by Omicron which is more transmissible than Delta.
Vaccination remains a critical first line of protection for the individual and the community, and has helped protect us against severe illness. Residents who have yet to be vaccinated, or are eligible for their booster shots but have not received them, are reminded to do so at the earliest opportunity.
To maximise protection, dampen the Omicron wave, as well as reduce pressure on our healthcare system, residents should continue to practise personal responsibility, observe personal hygiene, and wear good quality masks.
Wearing a mask has been shown to be effective at reducing the spread of infectious respiratory droplets  . We may be infected and remain asymptomatic, so wearing a mask helps contain our respiratory droplets. To reduce Omicron transmission, medical grade surgical masks are more effective than simple 2-layer fabric masks, especially in higher risk settings.
Mr Lim Boon Heng, Chairman, Temasek, said: “Even as we press forward to a new normal, we must continue to take personal responsibility and remain vigilant to reduce the spread of the virus. We must also watch out for those among us who are more vulnerable. Let us be kind to one another, especially to those who need more help. No one is safe until everyone is safe.”
Temasek Foundation thanks its partners and volunteers for supporting the mask distribution, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry for donating the masks. Partners include: ST Engineering for providing logistics support; SP Group for managing the hotline; Sheng Siong, NTUC FairPrice, Prime Supermarket, Cold Storage, Giant, CapitaLand, Frasers Property and City Developments Limited for providing venues and facilitating the collection of the masks; Ministry of Social and Family Development for identifying suitable beneficiaries; and Government Digital Services (Government Technology Agency) and Beep Technologies for enabling data integration; as well as Qxpress for making special deliveries of some masks.
We are also grateful for the many staff of these organisations, as well as corporate and individual volunteers from all walks of life who stepped forward to assist with the distribution and respond to public enquiries. Their support has enabled this distribution of free masks to help lower-income Singapore families.
Ms Woon Saet Nyoon, Chief Executive, Temasek Foundation Cares, added: “As we work towards living with COVID-19 in Singapore, we must continue to remain vigilant by practising personal and community responsibility as part of our new normal. So, if we are not feeling well or find ourselves in a higher risk situation, do wear better quality medical-grade surgical masks. It helps to mitigate the spread of the virus and protect ourselves. On behalf of Temasek Foundation, I would like to express our deepest appreciation and gratitude to our valuable partners and stakeholders for their commitment and concerted efforts in making this distribution possible.”
Temasek Foundation COVID-19 Initiatives
Since early 2020, Temasek Foundation has been working with multiple partners to provide support in and outside Singapore in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first nationwide #BYOBclean in March 2020 was an initiative in Singapore to encourage hand hygiene, where Temasek Foundation partnered with People’s Association, corporates, unions, universities, and community organisations to provide 500ml of free hand sanitiser to every household in Singapore. Residents brought their own bottles, and volunteers helped to mix and fill these #BYOBclean bottles. The second #BYOBclean nationwide initiative in April 2021 was the first in the world to use vending machines to mix and dispense hand sanitisers.
Temasek Foundation also contributed five rounds of free reusable masks in June/July 2020, September/October 2020, November/December 2020, March 2021 and January 2022. The use of reusable masks helps to lower infection spread, and reduce plastic waste from disposable masks.
With the emergence of more infectious COVID-19 variants, Temasek Foundation has also distributed over 75 million medical grade single-use masks in August/September 2021. These include over 50 million medical grade surgical masks which can be used as an added layer of protection on top of reusable masks or used on their own; and over 25 million N95 hospital grade masks for use in high exposure risk situations.
In July/August 2021, Temasek Foundation also distributed over 1 million free oximeters to interested households in Singapore to empower residents to monitor their blood oxygen levels regularly. By knowing their normal oxygen levels, people can be alerted if their oxygen levels drop below normal, and avert dangerous “silent pneumonia” from COVID-19 infections. The oximeter is also be useful as an early warning indicator for respiratory risks from other medical conditions.
Temasek Foundation also provided more than 920,000 bottles of povidone-iodine (PVP-I) mouth gargle for Singapore households from October to December 2021 in Singapore to help reduce the spread of illnesses by killing germs that cause sore throat. This includes the delivery of about 780,000 PVP-I mouth gargle bottles to the letter boxes of all households living in 1 to 4-room HDB flats.
Other community efforts in Singapore by Temasek Foundation included:
Temasek Foundation has also facilitated over 200,000 swab tests plus care packs for priority groups such as migrant workers, essential and frontline staff, stallholders, retail assistants and town council staff in our residential precincts to ensure that our community stays prepared and keep safe.
In 2021, we launched Youth Action for Pandemics, an initiative for people under 40 years old with innovative ideas to help address COVID-19 and prepare for the next pandemic.
Besides taking care of our local community, Temasek Foundation recognises the need to ensure that communities beyond Singapore are well-equipped against this pandemic. Initiatives include the donation of Personal Protection Equipment such as masks, gowns, and gloves; oxygen-related support equipment, from oxygen concentrators and ventilators, to ICU ventilators and ECMO lung machines; and diagnostics such as test kits to healthcare partners in some 40 countries beyond Singapore.
Together with the World Food Programme and Singapore Airlines, we have been supporting efforts to transport essential medical supplies and other health and humanitarian items to points of need across Asia and the Pacific. Singapore Airlines and Temasek Foundation co-sponsored the cost of flights to transport the life-saving supplies to different countries. The partnership has completed more than 50 flights, carrying over 5,500 cubic metres of COVID-related products such as oxygen equipment, face shields, goggles, gowns, and respirator masks.
For more information about other Stay Prepared initiatives, visit stayprepared.sg.
 As at 15 Feb 2022, there are about 4,000 recipients of ComCare Long-Term Assistance who have been issued their Public Assistance/Special Grant cards. Singapore citizens and permanent residents may apply for Public Assistance/Special Grant cards. Only Singapore citizens may apply for CHAS cards.
 The minority of highly vulnerable folks such as those who are immunocompromised may also wish to consider using N95 grade masks when going to higher risk or higher exposure situations, such as visiting clinics or hospitals or going to crowded places.
 Card holders’ NRIC numbers may also be used.
 Source: Government of Singapore, The science behind why masks help prevent COVID-19 spread