Razer is most well-known for its rainbow-hued gaming accessories, but the coronavirus pandemic has recently turned its attention to less fun, but more vital accoutrements.
The company announced on Tuesday that it will distribute approximately five million free surgical masks to every Singaporean resident aged 16 and up, with more made available for purchase. The population of Singapore is 5.7 million, so Razer’s commitment should cover a significant proportion of the country.
Twenty mask vending machines will be placed in malls and co-working centers around Singapore’s business district, ready for when lockdown restrictions begin to ease on June 1. Citizens and residents of Singapore will be able to scan a QR code allocated through Razer Pay, the company’s mobile wallet app, to claim their free, single-use mask.
“Razer will continue our endeavors in supporting Singapore to be self-sufficient for face masks as a nation,” said Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan, himself a Singaporean citizen.
Tan further addressed criticism concerning the need for people to sign up for Razer Pay to claim their masks. In a post on Facebook, Tan wrote that “this is the only way we’ll be able to ensure there’s no free for all on the masks. We aren’t the government and have no access to the Identity Cards etc. We’re funding this completely ourselves and would like to ensure there’s no fraud.”
Razer established Singapore’s first fully automated mask production line in April, which had the capacity to make five million surgical masks per month. The company is now partnering with plastic company Sunningdale Tech Ltd to double capacity to 10 million masks per month.
Of course, Razer’s masks are single-use, so should only really be worn for one trip to the shops. Singaporeans should also already have a mask when going and collect their masks. Wearing a mask while in public was made mandatory in Singapore on April 14, with first-time offenders subject to a $300 fine.
Fortunately, the Singaporean government has supplied all residents with masks nationwide, and will also use vending machines to issue reusable cloth masks in its third mask distribution. Though Singapore initially appeared to have coronavirus infections under control, a recent resurgence in cases among migrant workers has prompted new concern.
Singapore currently has 24,671 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 21 deaths. For comparison, New York’s population of 8.4 million has had over 345,000 infections and 27,000 deaths.