Singapore

Children under six do not have to wear face mask from Monday: MOH

Children under the age of six will no longer be legally required to wear a face mask, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday.

It will amend the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations 2020 to update the legal cut-off age for children to wear masks to six years old and above, up from the current two years old and above, with effect from Monday.

However, the ministry's director of medical services Kenneth Mak said: "To protect young children from Covid-19, we continue to encourage young children to wear a mask or a face shield, especially if they are in a group setting, for example, in pre-school or when they are in social activities interacting with other kids.

"Children and other persons who may not have the coordination necessary for the proper use of masks or face shields should continue to be supervised."

GUIDELINES

Associate Professor Mak said Singapore is bringing its guidelines in alignment with those of the World Health Organisation and Unicef.

The international agencies recently issued an advisory that children aged five years and under should not be required to wear masks.

"This is based on the safety and overall interest of the child and the capacity to appropriately use a mask with minimal assistance," the agencies said.

Their advisory comes after an international and multidisciplinary expert group reviewed evidence on Covid-19 disease and transmission in children and the limited available evidence on the use of masks by children.

They also based their guidance on other factors such as children's psychosocial needs and developmental milestones.

Prof Mak told a press conference that existing guidelines already allow flexibility on mask use for younger children, as children aged 12 and below can use a face shield in place of a mask, consistent with these recommendations.

"But we haven't really fully reflected that in our current laws and we are making some adjustments," he said.

coronavirus