Foreign tourists, students, and others on various types of visas are allowed to buy masks at pharmacies once the incoming mask policy goes into effect tomorrow, the National Health Insurance (NHI) said on Wednesday.
The comment contradicts an earlier report from the state-run Central News Agency (CNA) saying that foreign nationals without NHI cards would be left out of the mask rationing plan.
負責實施口罩實名制的健保署人員林右鈞週三上午告訴The China Post，未持有健保卡的外國人可以出示護照在各大指定藥局購買口罩。
The NHI official in charge of the implementation of the new mask policy, Lin Yo-chun (林右鈞) told The China Post earlier today that foreigners who don’t have a NHI card can purchase masks at designated pharmacies with their passports.
健保署官員張鈺旋向The China Post解釋她從未表示外籍人士不能購買口罩，但是他們的確需要出示不同證件才能購入。
To clarify, another NHI official, Chang You-hsuan (張鈺旋) told The China Post that she never said foreigners are not entitled to masks, but they require different identification from those who have NHI cards.
Tourists, diplomats, or other non-Taiwanese nationals visiting on a business visa should bring their passports, Chang said.
Foreign residents who have health insurance, usually those who hold an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) or an Alien Permanent Resident Certificate (APRC) should still use their health insurance card to purchase masks, Chang said.
Those who have residency but health insurance coverage are pending, or foreign spouses from China should bring their resident certificate or exit/entry permits.
Starting Thursday, people in Taiwan will only be allowed to buy two face masks per week at NHI contracted pharmacies, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC, 中央流行疫情指揮中心).
CECC Chief Commander Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said that everyone is allowed to purchase for maximum one friend or family member as long as they bring their national health insurance cards along with their own.
In order to avoid long queues, residents should go to pharmacies according to the last digit of their ID number, residency number, or passport number.
If the latter ends in an odd number, you are eligible to buy masks on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; even numbers should go on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Sundays are open to all.
The flat fee per piece will drop by NT$1 (US$0.33) from NT$6 (US$0.2) to NT$5 (US$0.16), and locals will need to show their health insurance card to make a purchase, the minister added.