Taiwan donates facemasks to EU

Workers, volunteers and military officers work to produce surgical mask inside the Universal Incorporation factory in Tainan, Taiwan. The company was asked by the Taiwan government to help producing masks amid supply shortage due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. EPA-EFE/RITCHIE B. TONGO

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Earlier this week, Taiwan promised it would send face masks to countries in need amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The first consignment of 8 million masks has arrived in the EU, and will be given out the different Member States, including Spain, Italy, and France. 

With 349 confirmed cases and only 5 deaths reported, Taiwan has had remarkable success in controlling the coronavirus, thanks to early screening of passengers from Wuhan, where the outbreak began, as well as a very well-regulated system for contact tracing.

The country has been very proactive in mask production since the outbreak of the pandemic, ramping up its production facilities to cater for the rise in demand.  As soon as the first cases were confirmed in January, the government immediately set up new face mask production centres, enlisting the help of the military to ensure supply. The country now produces around 13 million masks per day.

Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič said: “In these difficult times, international cooperation is crucial. We highly appreciate Taiwan’s gesture of solidarity with its donation of medical masks to the European Union. The Commission’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre has facilitated the delivery of 1 million these masks to Spain and Italy, which were a direct donation to the European Union. The remaining 5.9 million masks are being provided through bilateral channels to other Member States.”

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