Taiwan could boost daily mask output to 19 million by mid-May

CNA file photo

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan could see its surgical face mask production top 19 million per day by mid-May after 22 additional production lines went into operation, Economic Affairs Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said Tuesday.

Speaking during a radio interview, he said that the 19 million daily output is only a conservative estimate, expressing optimism that the 22 additional production lines could exceed that number once they are running smoothly.

Taiwan currently produces 17 million masks a day on 92 lines, according to Shen.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Taiwan was only capable of producing 1.8 million masks per day, but through the government’s initiative to install additional machines needed to boost production, daily output has surpassed the 10 million mark after mid-March.

The units, which were purchased by the government to cope with rising demand for surgical masks in Taiwan, were assembled by a team of about 100 technicians recruited from different companies across the country.

The first batch of 60 units were assembled in less than a month, even though the process would normally have taken half a year to complete, while the remaining 32 were assembled in two weeks.

On Tuesday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that some 120,000 people in Taiwan have so far donated their surgical face masks to those in need.

The donations came one day after the CECC made an announcement urging the public to donate their quota of surgical face masks to medical professionals in other countries that are in short supply, noting that the government platforms for the online purchase of surgical face masks now includes a function that allows Taiwanese to do so.

“This is aimed at showing Taiwan’s spirit of humanitarian assistance,” Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who also heads the CECC, said Monday.