COVID-19: Singapore to raise minimum age for children to wear masks to 6

Nicholas Yong
·Assistant News Editor
·2-min read
A pre-school teacher checks the temperature of a child before entering a classroom as schools reopened in Singapore on June 2, 2020, as the city state eased its partial lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Singapore. (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP) (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A pre-school teacher checks the temperature of a child in Singapore (PHOTO:AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The legal cut-off age for children to wear masks in Singapore will be raised to six years old and above, from two years old and above currently, the multi-ministry taskforce (MTF) for COVID-19 said on Wednesday (23 September).

The MTF said, “The World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) have recently issued their guidance that young children below the age of 6 years may not have the coordination necessary for the proper use of masks. Therefore, consistent adult supervision is recommended to ensure appropriate and safe use of masks by these young children.”

The current guidelines in Singapore allow for greater flexibility on mask use for young children, and permit children 12 years old and below to use a face shield in place of a mask.These are already consistent with WHO and Unicef’s recommendations, but not fully reflected in Singapore’s current laws.

Addressing reporters in a virtual press briefing, the Ministry of Health’s director of medical services Kenneth Mak stressed that Singapore’s guidelines will be harmonised with WHO and Unicef’s recommendations. “We continue to strongly encourage for young children to wear a mask, or a face shield, especially if they are in a group setting, for example, in preschool, or when they are in social activities interacting with other kids.”

Children and other persons who are not using masks or face shields properly should continue to be supervised when doing so, he added.

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