Mon, Feb 10, 2020 - Page 3 News List

Virus Outbreak: Mask policy needs to be changed: KMT legislator

By Lin Liang-sheng  /  Staff reporter

A man yesterday looks at a sign posted outside a drugstore in Taipei saying that the daily quota of surgical masks for that day has been sold.

Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) yesterday called for the policy regarding the purchase of masks at contracted pharmacies to be modified to give priority to people with a chronic disease.

Due to panic buying of surgical masks after the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, the Central Epidemic Command Center on Thursday last week implemented a policy that requires people to produce their National Health Insurance card or Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) when buying masks at contracted pharmacies. Each person can purchase only two masks per week.

However, while civic groups have initiated an “I’m OK, you buy first” movement to encourage people to allow those who are more vulnerable than themselves to purchase masks first, many who need masks still say they have been unable to obtain a mask.

Hung said that he has received many complaints from people with chronic diseases who have to visit hospitals frequently, but have been unable to purchase masks.

He hopes the government will hear their voices, Hung said.

He said he would write to the relevant government departments, calling for the policy to be modified after domestic production of masks has increased to allow people to have priority if they can produce a certified document proving that they have a chronic disease.

He also urged the Executive Yuan to consider how to give priority to people with chronic diseases.

Hung acknowledged the efforts of frontline disease prevention workers, but said he hopes that policymakers will understand people’s needs and attend to them.

Hung urged people to take precautionary measures against the virus and be aware of the possibility of clustered infections among school children after school starts in two weeks.

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