Taiwan to churn out 12 million masks a day by mid-March

Taiwan to ramp up production of surgical masks to over 12 million per day by mid-March to battle Wuhan coronavirus

Surgical face masks coming off assembly line. 

Surgical face masks coming off assembly line.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As panic buying of face masks continues to grip Taiwan over the Wuhan coronavirus, Taiwan's authorities on Thursday (Feb. 27) announced that production of masks should ramp up to over 12 million by mid-March.

Ho Chin-tsang (何晉滄), director-general of the Ministry of Economic Affairs' (MOEA's) Small and Medium Enterprise Administration (SMEA), said on Thursday at a press conference that the daily production of surgical face masks stands at 6.2 million. As 60 new production lines go into full operation on March 9, this number should leap to 10 million per day, reported CNA.

The MOEA has earmarked NT$90 million to add another 30 production lines, which should add an additional two to three million masks per day, for a total of 12 to 13 million by the middle of March, according to the report. After a Cabinet meeting that day, Cabinet spokesperson Kolas Yotaka said that the construction of a new production line usually takes six months, but the process has been expedited to 20 to 30 days.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said at the press conference that from Feb. 17 to March 17, five domestic mask factories will have produced 2.1 million N95 respirators, 300,000 hazmat suits, 2.12 million isolation gowns, and 100,000 protective masks. Chuang said that the weekly production capacity of disinfectant alcohol includes 442,742 bottles of medicinal alcohol (藥用酒精), 83,127 bottles of general alcohol (一般酒精), and 208,327 bottles of disinfectant alcohol (防疫酒精).