Taiwan parents report difficulty in finding masks for small children

TAIPEi (CNA) — Parents in Taiwan have been complaining about the problem of finding surgical masks in the right size for their children, under the government’s mask rationing program, and have brought the issue to the attention of a government minister.

According to a parent surnamed Feng (馮) in New Taipei, although he has been able to buy face masks in children’s size, they are too big and completely cover his daughter’s face.

Feng said he usually has to cut two holes in the masks so that his daughter could see when she is wearing them.

Another parent, surnamed Hung (洪), said he went to 14 pharmacies Friday but was only able to find children’s masks in large sizes, which are as big as the adult ones.

Since Taiwan’s mask rationing program started Jan. 31, the quota for each adult has been increased from two to three per week and then to nine per fortnight, while the quota for children 13 years old and under is 10 every two weeks.

The masks can be purchased online, via a mobile app or at government designated pharmacies, throughout the country.

Starting April 22, buyers will also be able to pre-order their fortnightly ration of masks at Family Mart, 7-Eleven, OK Mart, and Hi-Life convenience stores, once they present their National Health Insurance (NHI) cards.

Parents, however, are still worried about being able to buy the right size for their small children, and they complained to Minister without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳), after photos of herself picking up an online order of her masks from a store were posted on Facebook.

The parents suggested that the online ordering system be expanded to include masks for small children.

In response, Tang wrote “suggestions received” and said she will discuss the logistics with the convenience store chains in the country.