Taiwan emerges as 2nd largest face mask producer to fight epidemic

Taiwan’s state-owned distilleries also in full drive to produce rubbing alcohol

Premier Su Tseng-chang visits facial mask machinery manufacturer. 
Tsai Ing-wen inspects rubbing alcohol production.

Premier Su Tseng-chang visits facial mask machinery manufacturer.  (CNA photo)

Tsai Ing-wen inspects rubbing alcohol production. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is ramping up production of protective gear amid the threat of the Wuhan coronavirus, with factories going into overdrive manufacturing surgical masks and alcohol-based disinfectants.

Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) inspected a manufacturer of facial mask machinery on Friday (Feb. 14) to ensure that the 60 machines procured by the government will be put to service starting Saturday. The period of the equipment’s delivery has been reduced from six months to just one month, thanks to the joint effort of the public and private sectors, he said.

The additional capacity will translate into 6 million more masks a day by as early as late February. Taiwan is poised to emerge as the second largest surgical mask producer worldwide with daily production reaching 10 million, Liberty Times quoted Su as saying.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) also toured a distillery in southern Taiwan the same day to inspect the production line of alcohol used for disinfection, reported CNA. Owned by Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation (TTL), Longtian Distillery (隆田酒廠) has joined with distilleries in Pingtung, Taichung, Hualien, and Yilan to boost supply of 75-percent alcohol solution, a much sought-after product which is experiencing similar shortages to facial masks.

The state-owned manufacturer and distributor of cigarettes and alcohol is traditionally known for products like liquor, beer, and instant noodles that go with the rice-based wine “Huadiao jiu” (花雕酒). The company has made supply adjustments that prioritize the production of disease-prevention products including rubbing alcohol.

President Tsai inspects rubbing alcohol production. (CNA photo)

Surgical mask machinery (CNA photo)