Free reusable masks, hand sanitiser for each household from March, April

Temasek CEO Ho Ching said in a Facebook post that mask vending machines at 20 community centres have been moved to adjacent HDB blocks as the centres are being used for the roll-out of vaccinations. PHOTO: HO CHING/FACEBOOK
Temasek CEO Ho Ching said in a Facebook post that mask vending machines at 20 community centres have been moved to adjacent HDB blocks as the centres are being used for the roll-out of vaccinations. PHOTO: HO CHING/FACEBOOK

Each Singapore household will soon be able to collect reusable masks and an alcohol-free hand sanitiser from next month and April respectively, in yet another nationwide distribution by Temasek Foundation.

Some mask vending machines across the island have been restocked with a new navy-blue mask by Swiss hygiene company Livinguard, and Singapore residents can collect it from March 1, said Temasek chief executive Ho Ching in a Facebook post last Friday.

The collection exercise will last for two weeks.

The new two-layer mask is made of a water-repellent antimicrobial layer on the outside, and an inner layer with an antibacterial treatment to kill bacteria from one's saliva, said Ms Ho.

It does not need daily washing and could instead be washed once or twice a week, she added.

With up to 30 washes, the mask can be used daily for around six to seven months, she said.

After that, it could still double up as an "outer mask", providing an extra seal of protection for those who wish to wear another mask on top of their surgical or reusable one.

Ms Ho said this would offer better protection if there is an outbreak of more infectious variants of the coronavirus from Britain, South Africa or Brazil.

The chin section of the mask is slightly elastic to provide a better fit and air seal. Its sizing differs from the Proshield masks given out in the previous mask distribution exercise in November.

Ms Ho advised people to re-check their mask sizes before collection as there will be no exchange or refunds owing to hygiene reasons.

The Straits Times has contacted Livinguard for more information.

Mask vending machines at 20 community centres have also been moved to adjacent Housing Board blocks as the community centres are being used for the roll-out of nationwide vaccinations, added Ms Ho.

Separately, Temasek Foundation will also be giving out 500ml of alcohol-free hand sanitisers from local company Klenco to each household, with distribution starting in mid-April as part of its second nationwide distribution drive.

Residents must bring their own recycled bottles, such as plastic and shampoo bottles, to collect the hand sanitiser from vending machines, along with their Singapore Power utility bills from next month and April.

Both the paper bills and e-bills will contain a special QR code and a bill number, which can be keyed into the machine for collection.

Once this has been confirmed, #BYOB bottle stickers will be generated and residents will be able to collect the sanitiser from the machines. This would allow households to collect the sanitiser in a "hassle-free" manner at any time, said Ms Ho.

More information on both initiatives will soon be released.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2021, with the headline 'Free reusable masks, hand sanitiser for each household from March, April'. Subscribe