Taiwan will start a third round of mask donations soon, giving more than 7 million surgical face masks to countries around the world to help with their response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday.
Of the total 7.07 million masks, 2.28 million will be donated to the United States federal government and American states hardest hit by the pandemic, MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said.
Another 1.3 million will be sent to member states of the European Union, 1.09 million to Taiwan's 15 diplomatic allies, and 1.8 million to some of the countries covered in Taiwan's New Southbound Policy, namely, 18 countries in Southeast and South Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, Ou said.
The remaining 600,000 face masks will be donated to some African and Middle Eastern countries and to frontline medical staff providing assistance to Syrian refugees, she said.
It will be Taiwan's third round of mask donations since April, after it ramped up its mask production to 13 million per day, and then to 17 million by late April.
In the first round of donations at the start of April, 11 million masks were given to the U.S., 11 European countries, and Taiwan's diplomatic allies.
On April 9, Taiwan pledged a donation of 6 million more masks to northern, central and eastern European countries, Latin American countries, and some of the 18 countries covered in its New Southbound Policy, namely, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, India, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Singapore.
To date, Taiwan has donated a total of 17 million surgical face masks to countries around the world, according to MOFA.
蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen said, "More than 1 million face masks donated in just one day. It’s truly an honour to witness people’s generosity in action. I can’t think of a better way to mark 3 consecutive days of no new #COVID19 cases in Taiwan".
Meanwhile, Ou said, the Taiwan government is working on a plan to distribute masks donated by Taiwanese citizens to foreign countries.
As of Tuesday, nearly 4 million masks had been donated by 480,000 people in Taiwan, she said.
Those donations began after Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said on April 27 that people in Taiwan who had not purchased their nine masks per fortnight under the government's rationing system could access a function either on the website of the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) or its mobile app to donate their rationed masks.