Singaporeans queue up to buy face masks, pharmacies run out of stock, family-wise rationing begins

As of Jan 30, Wednesday, Singapore reported ten cases of confirmed Wuhan caronavirus infection in the country

On Wednesday, Jan 29, the Singapore government confirmed three more cases of coronavirus infection, bringing the total number of cases reported in the country to ten. The three persons, confirmed recently are Chinese nationals, who had traveled from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, where the first case was reported on Dec 31, 2019.

With panic situation setting in, people are queuing up outside pharmacies to buy masks and sanitisers to protect themselves from contracting the deadly virus, which is airborne disease.

Singapore runs out of face masks
Twitter/Screen Grab

Singaporeans queue up to buy masks

Snaking queues are reported outside pharmacies, to buy face masks.

People are finding it hard to buy masks as many stores and pharmacies have run out of supply.

With limited stockpile, Guardian, Watsons and NTUC Fairprice has started rationing, limiting the number of masks a customer can buy, Business Insider reported.

NTUC Fairprice
Facebook/NTUC Fairprice

However, Senior Minister of State in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Lam Pin Min, who posted pictures of a warehouse which stored national stockpile, said: "We would like to assure Singaporeans that there is sufficient supply of masks in Singapore, if we use them sensibly and responsibly", the minister said.

"As there is currently no local transmission of the 2019-nCoV infection, masks are generally not needed in our normal daily activities," he said.

Every household to get 4 surgical masks

Each of the 1.3 million households in Singapore will get four surgical masks, the government announced on Thursday, Jan. 30, Strait Times reported. The 5.2 million masks will be distributed before Feb. 9, free of cost, for which people need to carry their identity cards. Government has reiterated that only those who're unwell should wear them.

This is because no human-to-human transmission has been reported in Singapore. All the ten cases reported in the south-east Asian nations are of those who had recently visited China's Hubei province, where majority of cases have been reported. Outside China; Japan, Germany and Vietnam are the only countries to report infection cases due to direct contact.

A total of 170 persons have lost their lives after contracting the novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). About 8,000 cases have been reported from around the world, which brings the tally equal to the SARS outbreak in 2002-03 in which 8,000 persons were infected and about 800 people lost their lives in over 37 countries.

Related topics : Coronavirus