Taiwan donates surgical masks for Indonesia

Taiwan donates surgical masks for Indonesia
Taiwan's government is preparing the production of health masks to meet the rapidly increasing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Taiwan's Presidential Office)

Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – Taiwan plans to donate more than one million pieces of surgical face masks to a number of countries contained within the Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy (NSP), including Indonesia.

The Focus Taiwan’s report quoted here on Wednesday mentioned that the surgical masks from Taiwan would also be given to other countries, Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday (April 7).

At a press briefing in Taipei, the head of the ministry’s Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Baushuan Ger, said the masks will be sent to about seven to eight NSP countries that have recently asked for help from Taiwan, as well as countries outside of the Asia-Pacific region.

The surgical masks will be provided primarily to healthcare workers in these countries to assist them in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Ger said.

An official familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named, told Taiwan’s News Agency CNA that the countries will include Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, India, Myanmar and Indonesia.

The 18 countries under the NSP, which was launched by the Democratic Progressive Party government after President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May 2016, are the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, along with Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan.

On whether or not Taiwan will also be donating masks to Japan and South Korea, which have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic since its first outbreak in China last December, Ger said that neither of the two have so far asked for help.

With regard to four of its Pacific diplomatic allies, namely, Palau, Nauru, the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu, the official said the ministry is continuing to provide both technical and medical assistance to these countries in their efforts against COVID-19.

On April 1, the foreign ministry announced that Taiwan will be donating 10 million masks to countries seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the United States, 11 European countries and 15 of the country’s diplomatic allies.

Two million will be sent to the U.S., 1 million to the 15 allies, with the remaining 7 million going to Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Poland, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, according to Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry press release.

Reporting by Indonesia Window

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