Taiwan mulling channeling more masks to medical workers, patients

02/10/2020 09:53 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 10 (CNA) The government is mulling whether to prioritize more of its supply of surgical face masks to hospital workers and people with chronic diseases now that Taiwan's daily mask production has increased from the previous 3.2 million to 4 million.

With the increased supply, the Cabinet is planning to allocate the extra daily amounts to those in urgent need, spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said, as people continue to seek out face masks amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The government originally estimated daily output of face masks at 4 million a day when it requisitioned the country's production on Jan. 31, and planned to distribute 2.6 million to consumers and 1.4 million to medical workers and people involved in prevention efforts.

It later discovered that daily production was only 3.2 million masks, however, and allotted 1.7 million to consumers and the rest to medical and prevention workers.

Kolas said the additional production of about 700,000 masks a day will likely go to hospitals, medical workers at clinics, and people with chronic diseases and their caregivers who often have to go in and out of hospitals, where face masks are required.

But the details of how many would go to what group would depend on how the government rationing system introduced on Feb. 6 limiting the general public to two masks per week was working after one week to determine actual demand.

The general public will not have access to more masks from the bump in production, as the rationing policy will remain unchanged, Kolas said.

(By Yeh Su-ping, Kuo Chien-shen and Ko Lin)

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