Instil habit of wearing masks when ill

Singapore should promote a culture of health awareness and social responsibility.

Those who are ill, especially those with cough and flu symptoms, should use a face mask when in public places, workplaces, clinics, polyclinics and hospitals.

Singaporeans often travel during holidays or for business. If some come into contact with a deadly virus and fall ill, but do not wear a face mask, they would put others at risk. The virus could spread quickly.

In Japan, it is rare to see someone coughing and not having a face mask. This culture of civic-mindedness was inculcated in them from a young age.

The Singapore Government can start a national campaign on wearing face masks when one is ill.

It can join hands with companies in the private sector, including pharmaceutical firms, manufacturers of health food and drinks, department stores, convenience stores, supermarkets and petrol stations, to distribute face masks with their products, as a sales promotion.

Young people will then learn. When the habit is instilled in them, Singapore can become a more hygiene-conscious society.

Jeff Tan Hong Liak

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2017, with the headline 'Instil habit of wearing masks when ill'. Print Edition | Subscribe