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Taiwan, Vatican team up to provide facial masks to Africa

ROC Central News Agency

05/01/2020 02:45 PM

Vatican City, May 1 (CNA) In a spirit of collaboration, the Holy See will donate 100,000 surgical face masks provided by Taiwan to certain African countries to help them combat the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Taiwan's ambassador to the Vatican Matthew Lee (李世明) said Friday.

The masks are part of a donation of 200,000 masks donated by Taiwan to the Vatican, which arrived in the city-state along with two infrared thermal imaging cameras on Thursday, Lee told reporters during the handover ceremony.

The donation was accepted by Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Vatican's Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and Binish Thomas Mulackal, director of the Vatican Pharmacy.

Mulackal asked the Taiwan Embassy to the Holy See whether Taiwan would agree to divert some of the donated masks to Africa, Lee said.

Turkson has also been in touch with the embassy to discuss ways to help Africa amid the pandemic after he was appointed by Pope Francis to head the Vatican's COVID-19 Commission in March, Lee further said.

According to Turkson, a cardinal from Ghana, the 100,000 masks will be delivered to Africa through Catholic charities such as Caritas.

"Taiwan is glad to collaborate with the Holy See in providing assistance to countries that need help the most," Lee stressed, adding that apart from the masks, Taiwan would also like to make other contributions to help contain the global spread of the coronavirus.

The Vatican is Taiwan's only diplomatic ally in Europe.

Cumulatively, Taiwan has already provided 480,000 face masks and other relief goods such as rice cookers and canned food to the Vatican in April alone.

(By Huang Ya-shih and Emerson Lim)


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