Online vendors to start selling surgical masks Wednesday

CSD-made face masks (CNA file photo)

TAIPEI (CNA) — At a time when the government has lifted a ban on the sale and exporting of domestic surgical masks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, online vendors such as momo, PChome and Yahoo Kimo will start to sell face masks on the Taiwan market Wednesday.

The move by e-commerce operators to provide face masks follows physical retailers, who have been selling the products since Monday, when the supplies were sold out soon after being put on the shelves.

momo said the first batch of face masks manufactured by renowned medical equipment supplier China Surgical Dressings Center Co. (CSD) will go on sale at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

The first supply, which will be available in pink, deep blue, red and black, will be comprised of 50-piece flat mask boxes priced at NT$300 each (US$10), or NT$6 per piece, while 50-piece boxes of 3D masks will also be available, carrying a price tag of NT$499, or NT$9.98 per piece, momo said, adding that its members will be allowed to buy just one box per order.

Masks in purple will also be offered from the weekend, momo said.

The company said surgical masks manufactured by other brands, such as Wedison and Everyday, will be put up for sale from next week.

For its part, PChome said it will start to sell more than 10,000 CSD-made face masks Wednesday afternoon.

Flat masks will be offered in 50-piece boxes in deep blue, pink and red, priced at NT$300, while 3D masks in black will be packed in 50-piece boxes and sold at a price of NT$499, PChome said, adding that consumers will be allowed to buy only one box per purchase.

PChome said the company will continue talks with mask makers for further supplies to meet demand.

Meanwhile, Yahoo Kimo said its sales will start from 10 a.m. Wednesday, with the first batch of 10,000 CSD-made masks. Again, consumers will be allowed to buy only one 50-piece box per purchase.

The online vendor said a box of flat CSD masks is priced at NT$300 and offered in deep blue, pink and red, while a box of 3D masks in black will cost NT$499.

The government has requisitioned all domestically produced masks since Jan. 31, and implemented a rationing system for mask purchases to prevent panic-buying and ensure that all Taiwan residents have access to at least two masks a week amid the coronavirus scare.

Since then, Taiwan has ramped up daily production capacity from 1.88 million to around 20 million masks, allowing the rationing order to be relaxed from June 1.

Under the new policy, the government will still continue to requisition 8 million masks per day, while lifting sale and export restrictions on the remaining 60 percent of capacity.

In the event that people still have difficulty buying masks on the open market, they will still be able to purchase nine adult masks or 10 children’s masks every two weeks through the government supply system.