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Public urged not to panic over Taiwan's 1st confirmed case of Wuhan coronavirus

Health, customs authorities stepping up fight against spread of Wuhan coronavirus, African swine flu: Taiwanese Premier Su

A traveler wears a face mask in China. 

A traveler wears a face mask in China.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) assured the public that there is no need to panic after the government announced the first imported case of the Wuhan coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on Tuesday (Jan. 21).

To provide Taiwanese with peace of mind ahead of the seven-day Lunar New Year holiday that starts Jan. 23, Su said supplies of a mask widely used during the 2003 Sars outbreak are high and that they will be distributed whenever needed.

"The government has 1.93 million N95 masks and 44 million surgical masks in the national inventory. There is no need to overstock the masks. Health, quarantine, and customs authorities are stepping up the fight against the spread of both African swine fever and the Wuhan coronavirus," Su wrote on Facebook.

Motex, a Taiwanese manufacturer of surgical and N95 masks, said factories are running at full capacity to meet the exponential increase in orders over the past month, with monthly production exceeding 10 million units. The company said that surgical masks are sufficient to protect the general public from the potentially deadly virus.

Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital infectious disease physician Huang Ching-tai (黃景泰) said the surgical mask is effective enough against fine viral droplets.

Chinese authorities have reported 440 cases of the coronavirus, including nine deaths, while South Korea, Japan, Thailand, and the U.S. have reported new cases over the past week.