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Taiwan's eMask Ordering System now available in English

Taiwan's real-name mask rationing website now has English option

Surgical face masks made in Taiwan.

Surgical face masks made in Taiwan. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The second version of Taiwan's new mask-rationing website launched on Wednesday (March 25) with an English option.

Individuals can place pre-orders for surgical masks between 8 a.m. March 25 and 8 p.m. March 27 on the second version of the eMask Ordering System. After many foreign residents complained that the website's interface was entirely in Chinese, there is now an English option as well.

Although the language barrier is no longer an issue, foreigners still only have the option of using their National Health Insurance (NHI) cards, and they must use a card reader to enter them into the system. Fortunately, card readers (讀卡機) are quite inexpensive at around NT$200 (US$6.60) and easily purchased at electronics stores and on e-commerce sites in Taiwan.

The card reader is needed to complete the process of registering NHI cards online. The registration process also requires the installation of a plugin, preferably on a desktop computer, as mobile devices require further authentication.

Once the plugin is installed and the card reader is plugged into a computer with the NHI card inserted, the user will need to fill out information about their ARC. Next, they will need to choose the nearest branch of one of four convenience store chains: 7-Eleven, OK-Mart, FamilyMart, or Hi-Life.

Those who successfully place their pre-orders will receive a payment notification, and payment can be made by ATM transfer (through a mobile bank, internet bank, internet ATM, or physical ATM) or credit card within the designated payment period. Mobile app pre-purchases can only be paid via ATM transfer.

After the transaction is successful, the purchaser will receive a delivery number via SMS. After receiving the delivery notification, those who pay between March 28 and 30 will see their masks delivered to contracted convenience stores between April 2 and 8.

Customers need to bring their delivery number and a form of identification (ARC, NHI card, or driver's license) to the convenience store. Next, they need to enter the delivery number and their ID card number at multi-function kiosks (such as ibon, FamiPort, Life-ET, OK-go) and print out a receipt.

Finally, customers will need to hand the receipt to the convenience store clerk to obtain the masks that were ordered.

The total cost for the weekly ration of three masks is NT$22, including an NT$7 shipping fee. Dubbed the "Real-name Mask System 2.0," the mechanism was introduced on March 12 and has been used 117.8 million times.