Taiwan’s surgical mask output hits 13 million per day

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan’s daily surgical mask output has hit 13 million, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) announced Tuesday.

The current daily output is more than four times the amount that Taiwan was capable of producing in early February, when Taiwan produced an average of 3.2 million surgical masks per day.

That amount, however, is far from enough to meet the demand for surgical masks, which are widely used in Taiwan to prevent against the COVID-19 coronavirus disease.

In response to the high demand, the government banned the export of all surgical masks in late January, requisitioned all domestically produced masks, and instituted a rationing system to limit the number of masks people could buy per week.

It also purchased 92 mask production lines, which have been set up in 40 days and have largely contributed to the significant surge in output.

With the increase in output, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced Monday that people would be able to buy more masks under the rationing system in April.

From April 9, residents will have access to nine masks for adults every 14 days, up from three per week at present, while the quota for children’s masks will remain at 10 every two weeks, the CECC said.

The MOEA is also discussing whether to purchase production lines that can produce N95 masks, which are able to filter out at least 95 percent of airborne particles and are mainly used by medical workers on the frontlines.

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