Taipei mayor dissatisfied with new mask rationing measure

Ko Wen-je exclaims the policy should be 1 mask per day, per person

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CECC head Chen Shih-chung (left), Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je

CECC head Chen Shih-chung (left), Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As Taiwan’s new face mask rationing measure is set to take effect Thursday (April 9), which allows an adult to buy nine masks within every 14-day period, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) voiced his displeasure, saying it should be one per day.

According to a CNA report, Ko was asked by media for comment on the new face mask rationing policy before a meeting with borough chiefs.

The mayor stated that his ideal mask supply would be one mask per day, per person, explaining “it is not like I don’t have to breathe on weekends and holidays.” People should be allowed to buy 28 masks for one month at a time, he said, adding that face mask vending machines are currently being tested.

In response, Central Epidemic Command Center head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said that even though mask production was at a sufficient level, the government still had the responsibility to distribute them pragmatically and prevent mask demand from exceeding supply.

When asked about visitors crowding popular tourist attractions across Taiwan during the Tomb Sweeping holiday, Ko said it took about 15-20 days for a person infected with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) to be confirmed, so approximately two weeks is required to tell whether the unrestricted vacationing had become a loophole in the government’s efforts to contain the virus outbreak.

If the government had to do it all over again, they should have put in place crowd control measures or urged vacationers to at least wear masks if social distancing was too hard to practice, the mayor was quoted as saying.