From raiding supermarkets to now littering surgical face masks, it appears that raising the coronavirus response level from yellow to orange has brought out the weird, cringey, and shocking among Singaporeans.
After a weekend of witnessing Singaporeans emptying out supermarket shelves of essentials like toilet paper and rice, Facebook user LiLynn Wan took to the platform on Sunday morning to also point out another worrisome behavior that has emerged in the country — people indiscriminately discarding what appear to be used surgical face masks.
She told Coconuts Singapore today she had been seeing them peppered throughout the Novena neighborhood, including near the Tan Tock Seng Hospital, in recent weeks. The hospital is located right next to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases, where many of Singapore’s coronavirus patients are being warded.
Wan also saw some of the masks littered along the Irrawaddy and Moulmein roads.
“We live around Tan Tock Seng hospital area. I walk our dog around here and this is where I took the photos. There were quite a few on the Tan Tock Seng Link, but I noticed yesterday some of those were cleaned up this morning. However, there are still quite a few along Irrawaddy Rd, Moulmein, Sinara — around the hospital and Novena,” she said.
“I noticed that the number has really increased in the last week. I saw about a dozen when I went for our walk yesterday, just between Novena and our street (Akyab Rd),” she added.
The littering happens as Singapore runs out of surgical face masks, with some Watson and Guardian health retail stores still out of supplies. The government has been giving out free masks, but limited to four pieces per household, while others have turned to other means, such as the Carousell buy-and-sell platform, to purchase masks at mostly inflated prices.
In Wan’s Facebook post, she said: “Dear Singapore – please STOP discarding your used masks on the ground. If you are concerned enough about the spread of the coronavirus that you are wearing a mask, it makes no sense to litter like this.”
Singapore has confirmed 43 cases of the coronavirus as of Monday morning, six of which involve patients who are in critical condition. The disease has killed nearly 1,000 people in China, where the number of cases has surpassed 40,000.
“You are only increasing the chances of this thing getting out of control and increasing the risk to your own health. We can do better than this. We are better than this,” Wan added.
Among those who responded in the comments was Lindy Kim.
“Horrible ppl (sic). Then blame everyone else and the government for not doing enough to stop the spreading,” she said.
“Absolutely inconsiderate, it’s so unhygienic. What happened to the years of campaigns???” another Facebook user, Robert Lim, said. He was referring to Singapore’s iconic Clean and Green campaign that has been going on for decades.
Wan told Coconuts Singapore she hasn’t been wearing masks as she does not believe that it is “necessary.”
“We don’t believe it’s necessary to wear a mask – health care professionals have said over and over again that casual use of masks is not effective. It just engenders fear and panic,” she said.
Littering of face masks is just some of the weird and cringey behaviors among Singaporeans as of late.
Singaporeans in fear of a city lockdown had on Friday and Saturday ambushed supermarkets and emptied out shelves in a bid to stock up on supplies, prompting the NTUC Fairprice supermarket chain on Sunday to impose purchase limits for items like toilet paper, rice, and instant noodles.
On trains and buses, photos emerged over the weekend of Singaporeans’ showcasing weird antics like blanketing themselves with a shawl and donning shampoo hats in a bid to dodge the disease.