You may be masking up but doing that alone is not enough to keep Covid-19 at bay
With the hustle and bustle on the streets of Singapore today, other than face masks on everyone, you would think that things are back to the way they were, before 2020.
Well, certain things are different from the past, like strictly managed entrances to our favourite malls and SafeEntry checking in at every place we visit. But by and large, daily life has resumed, albeit with a new normal since phase 2 of Singapore’s reopening.
However, this doesn’t mean that we should lower our guard and feel no need to pay heed to the many safe management measures that are in place in Singapore. Sure, the number of new cases may be low, but as we have seen in other countries, if people don’t take the precautions seriously, the cases could go up again.
Some countries have seen the number of infections rise again after relaxing the measures locally resulting in stricter rules.
So what can we do to make sure that doesn’t happen here in Singapore?
Mask on properly always
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, and compulsory mask-donning is to reduce the spreading of the virus.
However, as the number of infections drop in Singapore, some are taking mask-wearing lightly, including wearing their masks with their chin or nose exposed, removing their mask as soon as they are seated in restaurants, and not putting their mask back on after eating, drinking or exercising.
As Covid-19 is spread primarily through droplets, the main purpose of wearing a mask is to prevent our droplets from getting out into the air or landing on something or someone else. Hence if not worn properly, e.g. too loosely or with the nose exposed, it defeats the purpose of wearing a mask in the first place.
If you are feeling unwell, wear a surgical mask or reusable mask with better filtration capabilities and go see a doctor as soon as possible. Wearing masks with better filtration capabilities should also be adopted by seniors aged 60 and above, people with medical conditions such as diabetes or heart conditions as well as those interacting with people who are unwell.
Other precautions to follow to keep safe amidst the pandemic
Even if you take great care by wearing a mask properly, it is not enough to keep the virus at bay.
Wearing a mask has to be combined with other precautions to compound its effects and ward off possible infections. These include:
1. Practicing good hand hygiene
Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser, especially after touching common surfaces. You should also avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth while outside your home.
2. Limiting the number of people you meet
In addition to sticking to the gathering limits in place, keep the total number of people you meet small, to limit your exposure (and theirs) to the chances of infection.
3. Following safe distancing rules
Keep at least one metre apart from people when in public spaces whether you are standing in line or sitting down. The further apart you are, the less likely you are to come into contact with respiratory droplets from other people.
4. Supporting contact tracing efforts
Abide by SafeEntry requirements and utilise the TraceTogether App or Token. Doing this makes it easier and faster for contact tracers to identify and inform you if you are potentially infected from having been in close contact with a Covid-19 case, preventing new clusters from forming.
5. Visiting a doctor as soon as you feel unwell
It may be easy to brush off a fever or a cold and self-medicate instead of visiting a doctor. However, this could lead to you unintentionally spreading an infection to your family, friends, colleagues and the people around you if you were to go about your daily activities. Seeking treatment and getting tested for Covid-19 if advised by the doctor is the only way you can know if you are infected with Covid-19.
Furthermore, seeing a doctor is convenient with all polyclinics and more than 950 Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) island-wide offering subsidised rates for Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and eligible Work Permit Holders for treatment of respiratory infections.
Swab tests are available at more than 530 PHPCs, regional screening centres and polyclinics, with more details available at www.phpc.gov.sg.
While we might feel inconvenienced by the rules in place, it is only through following them that we can collectively keep Covid-19 from spreading and preventing a resurgence of cases.
The fight against this pandemic is far from over, and it is only by staying united with our masks on and observing the safe management measures that we can keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.