Singapore closes all schools on September 25 due to worsening haze situation. (Source: VNA)

The Singaporean Ministry of Education has announced that the country would close all schools on September 25 due to worsening haze situation.

Minister of Education Heng Swee Keat said at a press conference on late September 24 that the decision was made as a precaution, as air quality could enter hazardous level.

However, he said due to the late notice, parents can still continue to send their children to school. Teachers continue to report for duty, and students would be placed in suitable facilities such as libraries and enclosed spaces, he said, adding that school-based student care centres remain open.

Meanwhile, Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishman highlighted the possibility that air quality in the next 24 hours could enter the hazardous range, and attributed it to a tropical storm in the Western Pacific to the east of Philippines, which caused a change in wind direction.

According to the National Environment Agency’s data recorded at 10pm of September 24 (Singapore time), the 3-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) climbed to 316, indicating hazardous air quality, while the 24-hour PSI rose to 223-275, which is “very unhealthy”

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say called on businesses to carry their work activities on as normal as possible, and not to compromise the health and safety of workers.

He urged individual employers to continue to update their risk assessment and pay particular attention to work which are strenuous and that involves prolonged outdoor work.

They should also pay special attention to workers, especially the elderly, the pregnant women as well as workers with heart and lung condition, Lim added.

Singaporeans are eligible to get N95 masks from all 108 Community Centres from 10am of September 25, according to the People’s Association (PA).

The adequate supply of masks has been ensured for bulk purchase by companies with prolonged or strenuous outdoor work, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry.-VNA