Hong Kong has an adequate supply of small-sized N95 surgical masks, the chief executive of the Hospital Authority said yesterday as he tried to ease concerns over a shortage of the top-quality protective mask. William Ho Shiu-wei said the problem was not acute because the Hospital Authority had stockpiled almost twice the number of masks that it consumed during the height of the Sars outbreak in April and May, and more were on the way. The stockpile of 750,000 'small-sized' N95 masks was about 60,000 more than would be required over two months. Small-sized masks were needed because the standard size, designed primarily for the Caucasian face, did not form a proper seal on smaller Asian faces. Medical experts said at least one incident of Sars infection at an intensive care unit had been attributed to an ill-fitting mask in the spring outbreak. Dr Ho said that during the peak of the Sars outbreak in April and May, the authority consumed 400,000 small-sized N95s. The authority had since decided it needed to stockpile about 1 million small N95s to cope with a three-month outbreak, he said. 'We are still stockpiling the masks,' Dr Ho said. He added the authority would have its three-month supply ready by the end of next month. He said supplies of goggles, gowns and shoe covers were also adequate. On Sunday, Ko Wing-man, director of professional services and public affairs at the authority, said the masks would run out in a month if the virus re-emerged now. Meanwhile, Henry Yeung Chiu-fat, president of Hong Kong Doctors' Union, said the association had started reminding its 1,800 private medic members to make sure they also had three months' supply of protective gear including masks and gowns. Dr Yeung said many private clinics were not ready for a new outbreak. According to Dr Yeung, there are only four suppliers of protective gear in Hong Kong. He expressed fears suppliers would push up prices if there was a sudden surge in demand for protective gear.