Taiwan will soon lift a ban on the export of large numbers of surgical face masks.
It is understood the existing ban will be lifted on June 1st in an announcement to be made between today and Friday according to Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC).
For a while, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan saw mask hoarding and for a short time, there were not enough masks to satisfy demand resulting in long lines at pharmacies, and ‘sold out’ signs common anywhere masks were sold.
The government soon started a mask rationing system, albeit initially supplying just two masks a week to individuals.
That system proved very successful and coupled to increased education on how the coronavirus spreads as well as campaigns urging people to wash hands frequently while maintaining social distance government efforts proved highly effective in calming any remaining public anxiety
This system has now been increased, enabling residents of Taiwan to purchase nine masks every two weeks at present.
The Taiwan Times understands the rationing system will stay in place even after the export ban is lifted according to government sources.
The government has, however, come under criticism in recent weeks from some quarters for allowing small-scale exports to Taiwanese based overseas, and relatives of Taiwanese, even if those individuals have never lived in Taiwan or contributed to the Taiwanese national health insurance (NHI) system.
At the same time the government maintained a ban on non-Taiwanese residents in the country who do contribute to the NHI system from exporting masks to their own loved ones.