300,000 masks being donated by Taiwan to Philippines (update)

04/14/2020 04:29 PM
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Photo taken from Twitter.com/MOFA_Taiwan
Photo taken from Twitter.com/MOFA_Taiwan

Taipei, April 14 (CNA) Taiwan's government is donating 300,000 face masks to the Philippines as part of its new pledge to give 6 million masks to regional countries to help them fight the new coronavirus pandemic.

The size of the donation was disclosed by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines in a statement Monday evening.

According to government sources, the masks are expected to arrive in Manila via EVA Air on Wednesday.

Taiwan's mask diplomacy campaign was launched on April 1 when it pledged to donate 10 million masks to European countries, the United States and diplomatic allies.

A second group of 6 million masks was pledged on April 9 to many countries not included in the first round of donations, including countries in the Asia-Pacific regions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has yet to announce the full list of recipient countries and when the shipments will go out.

According to sources, however, that Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and India will also receive 100,000 to 300,000 masks, depending on their populations and urgency of their situation.

A shipment of just under 50,000 masks was also shipped by China Airlines to Vietnam on Tuesday, in what was thought to be the first batch of a larger donation to Hanoi, according to an airline industry source.

The other masks destined for the Southeast Asian countries and India were expected to be shipped out in the next day or two, according to sources.

Meanwhile, eight European countries -- Slovakia, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania -- will receive 1.3 million face masks out of the 6 million pledged, said Kendra Yungshao Chen (陳詠韶), deputy director-general of the MOFA's Department of European Affairs, at a press conference Tuesday.

Logistical details of the donations to the eight countries are still being planned, including transportation routes, because of the paralyzed global aviation sector, Chen said.

No specifics were available on where the other masks were going.

(By Emerson Lim)

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