Since the emergence of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in mid-2012, there has been controversy over the respiratory precaution recommendations in different guidelines from various international bodies. Our understanding of MERS-CoV is still evolving. Current recommendations on infection control practices are heavily influenced by the lessons learnt from severe acute respiratory syndrome. A debate on respiratory precautions for MERS-CoV was organised by Infection Control Association (Singapore) and the Society of Infectious Disease (Singapore). We herein discuss and present the evidence for surgical masks for the protection of healthcare workers from MERS-CoV.