No danger of mask shortage in Singapore: PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sought to allay concerns of a shortage of face masks on Sunday, telling residents in his Ang Mo Kio constituency that there is enough stock for all Singaporeans.

His call for calm came as the Pollutant Standards Index hovered in the "moderate" range, after breaching hazardous levels last week.

Two days after many Singaporeans affected by the ongoing haze were unable to buy N95 masks at major pharmacies' as stocks had temporarily run out, PM Lee took the opportunity to give the reassurance that there is no danger of a mask shortage here.

The Ministry of Health's supply of nine million masks is currently being distributed around Singapore to the needy and elderly by grassroots leaders and full-time national servicemen.

Speaking to residents at a dialogue, PM Lee also said that Singaporeans should take care of themselves but also "carry on with our lives."

He said that the Government has expressed its deep concern about the haze to the Indonesian authorities, but also noted the obstacles they face in solving the problem. For one, he said, the parts of forest that are burning are spread out over a land area much larger than all of Singapore.

People's Association chief executive director Ang Hak Seng, speaking to reporters at the same event, said that 42,000 masks had been given out by grassroots leaders islandwide as of 12 noon on Sunday.