TAIPEI (CNA) — The government will begin supplying face masks for children under the age of four, starting next week, via its online ordering system and at convenience stores, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Sunday.
The smaller face masks — 12.7 centimeters by 8 centimeters — will be available for ordering May 18-20 and can be picked up May 25 to June 7, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, said at a daily press briefing.
Parents need only provide the details of their children’s National Health Insurance cards to buy the masks, the CECC said, following a government decision on April 23 to supply smaller sized masks.
Currently, the masks sold at designated pharmacies, convenience store kiosks, and on the government’s eMask website and Express mobile app are all for adults and children 4-8 years of age.
The government decided to include a smaller size in response to complaints by parents across the country about the difficulty finding surgical masks for younger children.
A father surnamed Feng (馮) in New Taipei said that the children’s mask currently available are much too big for his daughter and usually cover her entire face.
Feng said he has had to resort to cutting 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 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 aged 16 and under is 10 every two weeks.