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Taiwan donates rain suits to alleviate serious PPE shortage in Japan

ROC Central News Agency

04/16/2020 12:42 PM

Tokyo, April 16 (CNA) A Taiwanese doctor living in Japan has arranged a donation of over 10,000 disposable rain suits for use by front-line medical workers in Osaka, which is suffering from a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) as it battles the COVID-19 coronavirus.

In an interview, Wang Hui-sheng (王輝生) said he was moved to act after reading in a CNA report that Osaka Mayor Ichirō Matsui had issued an urgent call for donations of surgical face masks, protective gowns and gloves for the city's hospitals.

Because of the shortages, some local medical workers have resorted to using garbage bags as makeshift medical gowns, Matsui said, adding that the city is seeking to purchase disposable rain suits for them to use in the short term, but has been unable to find a supplier.

After reading the report, Wang -- who serves as chief director of Osaka's Kisai Ladies' and Children's Hospital and as vice president of the Global Taiwan Medical Alliance -- said he immediately began reaching out to contacts in Taiwan and Japan, and by Wednesday had arranged a donation of 12,000 rain suits.

The donors, said Wang, include the GTMA; Tah Hsin Industrial Director Hu Po-tun (胡柏墩); Taipei Neihu Technology Park Development Association Chairwoman Weng Su-hui (翁素蕙); New Taipei City's Asian Educational, Scientific and Cultural Association; and the medical equipment manufacturer Becquerel and Sievert.

The rain suits will be sent in several shipments from Thursday, where they will be quickly distributed to the city's medical workers, Wang said.

Although a donation of medical gowns would have been the ideal, they are currently extremely difficult to purchase in Taiwan, he added.

However, Wang noted that a friend at Taiwan's Tah Hsin Industrial assured him that the company could sell the Osaka city government an additional 50,000 rain suits, as well as disposable gloves, should they become necessary.

Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), Taiwan's representative to Japan, referenced the situation in Osaka in a Facebook post Wednesday, saying he had been moved to read of the mayor's appeal for help.

(By Yang Ming-chu and Matthew Mazzetta)


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