Wed, Feb 12, 2020 - Page 3 News List

Virus Outbreak: Masks for paramedics, patients to be prioritized: Su

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Chunghwa Post Co employees at the Taipei Mail Processing Center pack masks before sending them to post offices nationwide.

Photo: CNA

Mask supply and demand is gradually reaching a balance, thanks to increased production output, and the government would prioritize mask supplies for paramedics, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday.

The nation was producing about 4.2 million masks per day as of yesterday, and postal workers were delivering 1.7 million masks to pharmacies and health centers nationwide, Su wrote on Facebook.

Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka told reporters that thanks to efforts by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, daily mask production increased from 3.2 million masks on Wednesday last week to 4.2 million masks as of yesterday.

However, the amount of masks available for the public to purchase would still be rationed to two per week as the increased supplies are being allocated to paramedics and patients, she said.

Asked by reporters during a visit to Chunghwa Post’s Taipei Mail Processing Center if mask rationing would be extended from Saturday to the end of this month or early next month, the premier said the government is more confident in its ability to ensure sufficient supplies, and it would start prioritizing supplies to paramedics and patients who are most in need of masks.

As the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in China continues, the government would adjust mask supplies according to the developments, and inform the public of any changes, Su said.

Asked about the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) special relief bill proposing a special budget of NT$50 billion (US$1.66 billion) for relief funds to help industries affected by the outbreak, Su said that the Executive Yuan has not ruled out drafting a special act on relief for epidemics or planning a special budget for such aid.

As for SOS messages President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) written by Taiwanese passengers quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Yokahama, Japan, the premier said that the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan had contacted all 21 Taiwanese on board.

The office would remain in close contact with Tokyo and do its best to provide assistance to those passengers, he said.

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