The brief respite from the haze does not spell an end to the situation, and Singaporeans must continue to be prepared.
President Tony Tan Keng Yam sounded these words of caution on Tuesday as rain fell for the first time since the haze swept over the city. "The winds have changed, the rain has come today...But fundamentally things haven't changed. Fires are still burning in Indonesia, The winds might come back again. The haze will be back," he said.
He was speaking during a visit to Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital, which has been provided with portable air coolers to ease the discomfort of its elderly patients.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who was also visiting the hospital, said that the step-down care sector, which includes nursing homes and community hospitals are taking steps against the ill-effects of the haze. For example, more than 100 fans and air coolers have been loaned to 15 institutions. In addition, the Health Ministry is already working with retail outlets to restore their normal source of supply for N95 face masks, he said. More than four million masks were released from the Ministry's stockpile when shops ran out of stock last week.