COVID-19: Remove mask mandate outdoors, says MP Jamus Lim

SINGAPORE — With far lower transmission rates of COVID-19 outdoors as compared with indoors, and “clear signs of mask fatigue”, Sengkang GRC MP Jamus Lim is advocating for the mask mandate outdoors to be relaxed, save for crowded spaces.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday (21 September), Associate Professor Lim acknowledged that masks are an important tool, with clear evidence that they work in containing the spread of the virus.

“In an ideal world, folks would keep masks on all the time, of course, except perhaps when in the presence of those living in the same household,” he said.

“But in reality, keeping the mask on constantly is stifling, and all the more so in our hot and humid climate,” he added.

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Prof Lim pointed out the those who work outdoors such as cleaners and gardeners don’t have an excuse to unmask. Meanwhile, people unmask once indoors to obtain relief.

“I’m sure we all know of coworkers who unmask, especially in smaller meeting rooms and offices. There are clear signs of mask fatigue,” he said.

“If we had to choose between indoor and outdoor masking, the former is clearly preferred, because risks of infection indoors are much higher. We aren’t machines, and public health policy should ultimately be sustainable,” he added.

Prof Lim suggested with the virus now endemic, Singapore’s COVID-19 policy can be evolved to pay more attention to indoor air quality, even as there is strict mask adherence indoors.

“Hopefully we will keep revisiting our stances, informed by the latest science,” he added.

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