Sat, Feb 15, 2020 - Page 1 News List

Virus Outbreak: Taiwan to become world No. 2 in mask production

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Premier Su Tseng-chang, third left, examines a mask at Nonwoven Converting Machinery Co’s factory in New Taipei City’s Yingge District yesterday accompanied by Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin, second left, and Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Shu-fen, left.

Photo: Tu Chien-jung, Taipei Times

Due to added production lines, the nation is poised to become second in the world in terms of mask production at the end of this month or early next month, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday.

Su made the remarks while inspecting mask manufacturing facilities at Nonwoven Converting Machinery Co (權和機械) in New Taipei City.

Thanks to the efforts of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the nation is set to finish adding 60 mask production lines to its current production capacity at the end of this month or early next month, Su said.

By then, the nation would be able to produce about 10 million masks per day, he said.

Nine of the production lines would launch today, he added.

Disease prevention is a joint effort, Su said, thanking the company and the Taiwan Machine Tool and Accessory Builders’ Association for helping to boost mask production amid an outbreak of COVID-19 in China.

He also thanked pharmacists for cooperating with the government’s mask rationing policy and for maintaining order when people line up to buy masks, as well as postal workers for delivering masks to every corner of the nation.

All of these efforts have enabled prices to be capped at an affordable NT$5 per mask and kept the number of confirmed cases low, compared with neighboring countries, Su said, adding that the nation’s tenacity has shone through under such harsh conditions.

Asked whether a planned budget for an Executive Yuan program to give people shopping coupons would be sufficient to boost sales after the outbreak is brought under control, Su said that he would ask Executive Yuan Secretary-General Li Meng-yen (李孟諺) and Minister Without Portfolio Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) to determine whether to increase the budget for the coupons or expand their scope.

For example, aside from markets and stores, the coupons could be made redeemable at concert and exhibition venues, whose business has also suffered from the outbreak, he said.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs has proposed a tentative budget of NT$2 billion (US$66.6 million) for the coupons, which would translate to each citizen receiving between NT$100 and NT$200 in discounts.

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