SEATTLE, Washinton — Taiwan is donating millions of masks to countries around the globe. According to Focus Taiwan, Taiwan was “producing 1.8 million masks per day. Currently, it is producing more than 13 million. Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ying Wen, has pledged more than $35 million to combat the virus. “Taiwan can help, and Taiwan is helping,” says Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.
Taiwan Extends a Hand
The world’s poorest countries are unable to manufacture enough medical equipment for their healthcare workers. The citizens’ lives are thus dependent on aid from more developed countries. Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy was put forth in 2016. It is an initiative to cooperate and aid other Southeast Asian countries. Since the pandemic, Taiwan has been supplying its neighbors with medical-grade surgical masks, keeping their healthcare systems afloat.
Taiwan flew one million masks to India’s Red Cross Society on May 4, 2020. Not long after, on May 13, the Philippines received more than 300,000 masks, this being their second benefaction. Several neighboring countries were also recipients of Taiwan’s generosity through the provision of medical masks.
Taiwan also apportioned masks throughout Syrian refugee camps. Due to the high density of people in these camps, COVID-19 is prone to spread like wildfire. However, with the aid of the donated masks, the virus will face difficulties in its proliferation. Countries in Africa and the Middle East accepted Taiwan’s donation of 600,000 masks on April 21. Millions of more masks are being sent to countries in Eastern Europe and Latin American.
Taiwan Citizens Help Afflicted Nations
Taiwan donated an initial sum of two million masks to the U.S. and continues to supply an additional 100,000 masks every week according to a trade agreement. Canada received half a million, and another seven million will be supplied to European countries hit hardest by the virus.
The Taiwanese government rations nine masks per person every two weeks. Any Taiwanese person who does not purchase their allotted nine masks can donate them to overseas countries. Citizens can do this easily through the National Health Insurance Administration’s app or website. On April 28, Taiwanese citizens donated one million masks in a single day. Since then, more than four million masks were donated by an estimated 480,000 people. The number of donations continues to rise every day.
“Taiwan Can Help” Efforts
Taiwan responded first to the COVID-19 outbreak, closing its borders almost immediately. Since then, it precautionary measures kept the country below 500 cases and seven deaths. Taiwan’s “Taiwan Can Help” campaign marks its largest humanitarian assistance operation in history. The country, once poor a few decades ago, is now one of the greatest foreign aid contributors in face of the COVID-19 breakout.
This aid benefits developing countries the most, for without it they would not be able to keep their healthcare systems functioning. Furthermore, Taiwan’s aid to the United States strengthens the growing relationship between the two nations. Taiwan stands at the forefront of the pandemic and acts as a model nation during uncertain times.
– Jacob Pugmire