Asia-Pacific

Singapore to issue penalties for those not wearing face masks in bid to contain coronavirus

People, wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus in Singapore Source: Getty Images

Singapore has made wearing face masks outside compulsory, in an attempt to halt the coronavirus outbreak, after a recent sharp rise in the number of new cases.

Singapore has made it mandatory for everyone to wear a mask outside of their homes in the latest bid to curb the coronavirus spread following a sharp spike in cases.

The health ministry said in a statement late Tuesday that anyone found without masks will be fined 300 Singapore dollars ($A331), while repeat offenders could be prosecuted in court and face higher fines. It said exemptions will be made for children under two years old or those with special needs.

People wearing face masks in Singapore
Wearing face masks has become mandatory in Singapore
Getty Images

People can also remove their masks when engaging in strenuous exercise, but must put them back afterward.

Coronavirus cases in the tiny city-state has surged to 3,252 after two straight days of sharp increases.

Singapore reported its biggest daily jump of 386 new cases Monday, and another 334 new cases Tuesday, mostly linked to foreign workers living in crowded dormitories. Authorities expect cases to continue to rise amid more testing at the dormitories, which house over 200,000 migrant workers, but believe the situation will stabilise once its partial lockdown take effect.

Singapore has shut non-essential businesses and schools under its circuit-breaker measures until May 4. Officials said about a fifth of Singapore's workforce, including foreign workers, are still working but the government is seeking to tighten the list of services considered essential.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others and gatherings are limited to two people unless you are with your family or household.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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