TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Customs Administration on Sunday (Feb. 2) announced that given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, it will be lenient on passengers arriving in Taiwan with large quantities of face masks.
As the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) continues to rage, panic buying of face masks has set in across Taiwan. Despite government efforts to release millions of masks onto the market and the rationing of three per person, shelves of many stores remain bare.
Due to the shortage of surgical masks and N95 respirators in Taiwan, many citizens are buying masks overseas and bringing them back on their return flights. On Sunday evening, Customs Administration Deputy Director General Peng Ying-wei (彭英偉) announced that orders had been issued to all Customs officers to be permissive with passengers arriving with large amounts of facemasks and to not impose any restrictions, reported CNA.
Under normal circumstances, those who wish to import medical masks are usually required to apply for special permission from the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) in advance. However, Peng told CNA that due to the tremendous demand for face masks in Taiwan, many Taiwanese are bringing in masks from overseas, which he deemed beneficial for epidemic prevention.
Due to the urgent demand for masks, Peng said that all passengers carrying masks, whether medical or non-medical, will be treated more leniently by Customs officers. He said that such passengers can now pass through Customs smoothly without applying with the MOHW in advance.
Peng said that the Customs Administration on Sunday evening issued instructions to front-line Customs officers to ease their doubts and enable them to perform their law-enforcement duties. He added that passengers returning to Taiwan with face masks can rest at ease that they will not face restrictions or fines.