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Homeland Security

Taiwan donation of 300,000 masks arrives in Philippines

ROC Central News Agency

04/15/2020 10:08 PM

Taipei, April 15 (CNA) A shipment of 300,000 surgical face masks donated by Taiwan to the Philippines arrived in the capital Manila on Wednesday to help the neighboring country fight the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Gilberto Lauengco, vice chairman of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), formally accepted the donation from Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) Representative Michael Hsu (徐佩勇) at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.

The 300,000 masks were shipped to the Philippines on EVA Air, one of Taiwan's two major airlines.

"MECO, on behalf of the Philippine government, thanks the Taiwan government for its kind gesture of helping with its efforts against the pandemic and the donation will be a welcome reinforcement for hospital frontliners," according to a statement issued by MECO, the de facto Philippine embassy in Taiwan.

The 300,000 masks are part of 6 million masks committed by Taiwan to regional countries on April 9, in addition to 10 million pledged on April 1 for European countries, the United States and Taiwan's diplomatic allies to help them fight the pandemic.

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, the Philippines had reported a total of 5,453 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 343 deaths and is in need of personal protective equipment, as many frontline health workers have been infected by the virus.

More than 20 Filipino doctors have died due to COVID-19, according to data from the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines.

Luzon, where Manila is located, is currently under islandwide lockdown in a government attempt to contain the spread of the virus.

Earlier, MECO Chairman Angelito Banayo shared his observation Monday on what Taiwan has done right to keep the coronavirus in check, pointing out that mass testing, intensive tracking, appropriate health care treatment and transparency are Taiwan's keys to contain the outbreak.

"In Taiwan, for instance, the police quickly track down the potential extent of contagion. The NHI (National Health Insurance) card contains the cardholder's medical history, so that vulnerable citizens with weaker immune systems are prioritized by the health system," he wrote.

Banayo also mentioned that the Taiwan government met with mask manufacturers at the very start of the outbreak, giving them a production quota of 10 million masks per day and distributing them via pharmacies.

(By Emerson Lim)

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