Seven to eight countries included in Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy would be among the next recipients of its donation of more than 1 million masks to help them fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
The nation on Wednesday last week announced that it was donating 10 million masks to countries hit hard by the pandemic.
It said that healthcare workers in the US, Europe and the nation’s diplomatic allies would be among the first recipients of the 10 million masks, while it would assess its aid plan to other countries, including those targeted by the New Southbound Policy.
Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Director-General Baushuan Ger (葛葆萱) told a news briefing in Taipei that seven to eight of the 18 countries included in the New Southbound Policy have asked for help to meet their demand for masks.
The nation plans to donate more than 1 million masks to these and other countries not included in its first round of mask donations, he said, adding that healthcare workers would still be the priority.
While Ger did not name the countries, a source familiar with the matter said Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia and India had asked about mask supplies.
Japan has not asked Taiwan for masks, but as it is a close partner of the nation, the government would take it into consideration when planning its next stage of foreign aid, Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Secretary-General Kuo Chung-shi (郭仲熙) said.
Meanwhile, two Taiwanese compatriot leaders in Tokyo yesterday donated 6,000 masks to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan, with 3,000 going to ethnic Chinese students and the other 3,000 to Taiwanese students there, Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) wrote on Facebook.
Masks are not easily available in Japan’s store shelves, he said, adding that the office has forwarded the donated masks to students in need.
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