Taiwan to donate 10 million masks to countries hit by Covid-19, 7 million to Europe, 2 million for the US

A relief package of almost S$50 billion has been prepared.

Matthias Ang| Sulaiman Daud| April 01, 07:50 PM

On Apr. 1, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen announced that the government will step up foreign aid to other countries by donating masks to those who have been badly hit by Covid-19.

Reuters reported on April 1 that it will donate seven million masks to Europe, including Britain, Spain, Italy.

Two million will be donated to the U.S., while another one million will be donated to countries with which Taiwan has diplomatic relations.

Tsai said in a statement:

"Over the past months, we have seen countless acts of bravery and sacrifice from medical workers around the world. It is our duty as global citizens to give them our full support.

We need to step up cooperation, and that means sharing experiences and materials, and working together to develop treatments and vaccines.

We will donate surplus masks and other supplies to our allies and countries hit hardest by COVID-19. These supplies will go to medical workers on the front lines who are working around the clock to save lives."

Back in Feb. 2020, Taiwan tightened exports of masks.

But since then, it has ramped up production, setting up 60 production lines in less than a month.

Package to be rolled out in two phases

Taiwan will also provide a new Covid-19 relief package that will reach NTS$1.05 trillion (S$49.6 billion), Reuters reported.

Focus Taiwan highlighted that the package will provide emergency aid to both businesses and individuals affected by the pandemic, and will be rolled out in two phases.

The first phase will see, among other things, nearly NT$350 billion (S$16.5 billion) provided in loans to businesses, and a special budget of NT$60 billion (S$2.84 billion) to help industries affected by the pandemic. 

In addition, a special budget of NT$150 billion (S$7.1 billion) is also expected to be implemented in the second phase although it is unclear as to what this amount will be allocated to.

The new package comes on top of an earlier package of S$2.77 billion that was passed in Feb. 27, The Straits Times reported.

In response to a question about the source of the funds, Taiwan's finance minister, Su Jain-rong, stated that the fiscal position of the government over the past few years has been relatively stable, and that they will be able to respond to the outbreak.

How many cases of Covid-19 does Taiwan have?

Thus far, Taiwan has reported 329 cases of Covid-19 and five deaths, according to Reuters.

Taiwan Today reported that on the same day Tsai announced the new relief package, the territory's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) rolled out a new guideline for social distancing, which suggested that people keep 1.5 metres apart indoors and one metre apart outdoors.

The CECC head, Chen Shih-chung, added that if this guideline cannot be met, either masks or partitions should be used to minimise the spread of the disease.

Earlier on Mar. 19, Taiwan also cancelled visa-free entry for Singaporean citizens and nationals from 18 other Asian countries.

Should travellers from any of these countries still obtain the permission to enter the self-ruled island, they will have to be quarantined for 14 days.

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Top image from Tsai Ing-wen Facebook