Mask rationing program to be in effect until year’s end: CECC

CNA file photo

TAIPEI (CNA) — The government’s face mask rationing program will stay in effect until at least the end of this year to ensure equitable distribution of masks in Taiwan, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said Sunday.

Chuang made the announcement two days after former Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) warned at a forum of a possible second COVID-19 wave in Taiwan this fall that would be accompanied by seasonal influenza.

At that forum, focused on Taiwan’s COVID-19 response, Chen suggested that every household should prepare a three-month stock of masks in anticipation of a second wave before a vaccine for the coronavirus is developed.

Asked about Chen’s suggestion, Chuang said the government will maintain the current rationing program for mask purchases.

Under the program, people can present their National Health Insurance card to buy nine masks every two weeks from participating pharmacies nationwide.

Chuang said the government requisitions 8 million masks a day from domestic production and such a practice will continue until the end of this year to ensure that there will be enough masks for everyone.

Taiwan currently produces about 20 million face masks a day domestically, allowing for additional supplies that can be purchased at local drugstores and other retail outlets as well as online, Chuang said.