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Homeland Security

Mask donation from Taiwan reaches United Kingdom

ROC Central News Agency

04/14/2020 11:31 AM

London, April 13 (CNA) Face masks donated by Taiwan arrived in the United Kingdom on Monday, where they will be transferred to the National Healthcare Service (NHS) for distribution to front-line medical personnel, according to Taiwan's U.K. representative office.

The donation is part of a campaign announced on April 1 to give 10 million face masks to international partners, 7 million of which were allocated to 11 European countries, including the U.K., to help them cope with the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

On Monday, Taiwan's U.K. representative office said the masks, which were shipped to continental Europe last week, had arrived from Frankfurt, Germany, and said it is preparing to transfer them to the NHS. It did not say how many masks were involved.

The arrival of the masks comes at a critical point in the U.K.'s COVID-19 response efforts, as total deaths from the disease surpassed 10,000 on Sunday, Representative David Lin (林永樂) told CNA Monday.

The medical-grade masks will help the country address an ongoing shortage of personal protective equipment, Lin said, adding that Lord Bethell, the Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Health and Social Care, had conveyed his thanks for the donation.

The representative office has also sent masks to around 700 Taiwanese students in the U.K., Lin said.

In response to the news, members of Parliament Nigel Evans and Martin Vickers -- who both hold leadership positions in the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group -- released videos Monday thanking Taiwan for its mask donation.

Making reference to a recent "clap for the NHS" campaign in which people stand outside their homes and applaud the efforts of health care workers, Evans clapped his hands to thank Taiwan for its help in the fight against COVID-19.

Evans said the donation amounted to "well over a million masks."

Vickers, meanwhile, said the donations showed the two sides are "stronger together," and added that he would work hard "to deliver even stronger ties" in the bilateral relationship.

The U.K. has been hard hit by the virus in recent weeks, with government experts estimating that the country could have the highest death rate Europe.

As of Monday, the country had recorded almost 90,000 cases of the disease and 11,329 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

(By Tai Ya-chen and Matthew Mazzetta)

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