TAIPEI (CNA) — The Ministry of Education has been distributing 6.45 million surgical masks to schools at the kindergarten to grade 12 level (K-12) and to after-school institutions, as part of the government efforts to contain the novel coronavirus as the spring semester is about to start.
With K-12 schools set to open Feb. 25 after a two-week delay, the ministry is also supplying them with 250,000 forehead thermometers and 84,000 liters of alcohol-based sanitizers.
Of the 6.45 million allocated face masks, 500,000 are being given to private kindergartens, 770,000 to after-school tutoring institutions and child care centers, and 5.18 million to K-12 schools, Huang Wen-ling (黃雯玲), head of the MOE’s Department of Planning, told CNA Sunday.
The masks are for “backup” purposes and should be used only in emergency situations, such as if a child or teacher develops a fever, cough, sore throat or respiratory symptoms, Huang said.
The 250,000 forehead thermometers are being distributed in two batches, with 12,500 units delivered by Feb. 24, and 12,500 by March 2, she said.
Meanwhile, the distribution of 40,000 liters of alcohol-based sanitizers to private kindergartens and other institutions commenced Feb. 10 and will be completed in three weeks, while another 44,000 liters are being supplied to the schools over a three-week period that started Feb. 17, Huang said.
The opening of schools in Taiwan for the spring semester was postponed for two weeks, with K-12 schools rescheduled to Feb. 25 and most universities to March 2, as the government took steps to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
As of Sunday, Taiwan had confirmed 28 cases of COVID-19, including one death.