TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) confirmed on Wednesday (April 7) that Singapore is among the New Southbound Policy (NSP) nations that it will be donating over 1 million medical masks to.
At a news conference on Wednesday, MOFA's Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Head, Baushuan Ger (葛葆萱), said that Taiwan will be donating over 1 million surgical masks to NSP countries. Ger said that although there are 18 NSP countries, Taiwan is currently only preparing to donate face masks to those countries which have informed them of a need.
When asked how many countries have requested masks, Ger estimated there are "seven or eight" thus far. A source familiar with the matter told CNA that seven of the countries to have requested masks include the Philippines, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Singapore.
Ger said the total number of masks allotted to NSP countries will surpass 1 million, but he did not specify how many would be distributed to each country. In addition, Taiwan will be sending 1 million masks to its 15 diplomatic allies, 2 million to the U.S., and 7 million to 11 European countries.
Singapore is suddenly facing an increased need for face masks as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on April 3 stated the government will "no longer discourage people from wearing masks," reported The Online Citizen. Lee said the policy change had been made as more evidence had been gathered about the ability of asymptomatic patients to transmit the disease.
Singapore has seen a sudden surge in cases, with a record high of 287 new confirmed patients on Thursday (April 9), bringing the total to 1,910 infections and six deaths.