Taipei, March 9 (CNA) Taiwan is ramping up its production of surgical face masks, with the goal of reaching 10 million per day by next week, using newly acquired equipment, in an effort to meet domestic demand amid the COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic, Economics Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said Monday.
With the delivery of the machines, 60 new production lines have been opened at various manufacturing plants across Taiwan, although some of the equipment still needs fine tuning, Shen said.
This week, Taiwan's daily output of surgical face masks is expected to be 9.2 million on average, and when the production lines reach full capacity next week, they will be manufacturing 10 million masks per day in total, he said.
On March 5, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said NT$90 million will be spent to set up another 32 mask production lines, which will eventually help meet the current high demand due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Chen said the equipment for those 32 new production lines is expected to be delivered by the end of March.
According to the MOEA, Taiwan has enough raw materials to produce up to 15 million masks per day until the end of June.
Meanwhile, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Monday visited a mask manufacturing plant in Taoyuan and expressed thanks to everyone involved in Taiwan's efforts to contain the COVID-19 epidemic.
Yi Ting Non-Woven Co., the plant that she visited, is one of several factories contracted by the government to help ramp up mask production.
According to Yi Ting Non-Woven, it currently has four machines that are churning out roughly 400,000 masks a day, and its daily output is expected to rise to 600,000 soon when it adds two more machines to its production lines.