Skip to main content

MOFA announces donation of 10 million face masks to the US, Europe, diplomatic allies to extend humanitarian assistance in wake of COVID-19

  • Date:2020-04-01
  • Data Source:Public Diplomacy Coordination Council

April 1, 2020
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan) announced today that Taiwan will donate 10 million face masks to the United States, European Union member states and other European nations, and diplomatic allies to support medical personnel in containing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which has spread around the world and affected the aforementioned countries particularly hard. Undertaken in the spirit of “Taiwan can help!” and accompanied by a call for greater international cooperation, this constitutes Taiwan's first large-scale humanitarian assistance initiative in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Taiwan's actions in containing this pandemic have been widely recognized internationally. As the outbreak continues to spread globally, and the number of deaths keeps growing, Taiwan is sharing its experience with other countries. The international community has also expressed hope that Taiwan can provide further assistance. MOFA has been preparing to extend a helping hand under the premise that domestic epidemic control efforts are not compromised. This first large-scale humanitarian assistance initiative is directed toward the US, the more severely affected countries in Europe, and Taiwan's diplomatic allies, as detailed below:

1. Under the Taiwan-US epidemic prevention cooperation framework, Taiwan will continue to provide the US with 100,000 urgently needed face masks per week. Taiwan will also donate another two million face masks to the US to strengthen protection for frontline medical personnel.
2. As like-minded partners, Taiwan and the EU are collaborating to contain the pandemic. Taiwan will donate a total of seven million face masks to the EU, severely affected EU member states (i.e., Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain), and the United Kingdom and Switzerland. The aim is to help medical personnel in these countries and satisfy urgent demand for resources needed to fight the outbreak. Taiwan will hold consultations with the EU and individual European countries to establish reciprocal partnerships against COVID-19, such as complementary supply chains for related equipment.
3. Many R.O.C. (Taiwan) Embassies in diplomatic allies have procured equipment locally to offer assistance, and also provided one million surgical masks purchased from overseas sources. Additionally, MOFA will donate another one million surgical masks and 84 thermal imaging devices made in Taiwan, as well as infrared forehead thermometers, so as to help diplomatic allies control the coronavirus. Based on the outbreak's development and Taiwan's capacity, Taiwan will explore providing more substantive assistance to help diplomatic allies overcome this challenge.
MOFA wishes to emphasize that although many countries have sought Taiwan's support for some time, the government hitherto hesitated to agree to such requests in order to ensure that domestic demand could be met. Now that the number of masks being supplied to the domestic population has risen, and the issue of providing masks to citizens abroad has been attended to, the government can direct its attention toward international support. This first wave of assistance will be channeled to the countries hardest hit, providing local medical personnel with more resources to fight and contain the pandemic. Moving forward, Taiwan will continue to appraise the situation and its own prevention and containment capacity when planning assistance, including that directed toward partner countries under the New Southbound Policy.

Disease knows no borders. In the wake of the global coronavirus outbreak, Taiwan's efforts to prevent and contain the disease have drawn international praise. Taiwan also has a responsibility to stand on the frontline and assist others.

The international community must strengthen epidemic prevention and containment cooperation, together tackling the serious challenges posed by this pandemic, seeking global solutions, and helping others as much as we help ourselves. “Taiwan can help!” is not just a slogan; Taiwan can in fact make a real difference through concrete action.
Efforts to strengthen international epidemic prevention and containment cooperation have seen much progress lately, as follows:

➢ Technical cooperation: The US, the EU, the Czech Republic, Canada, and others have held talks or videoconferences with Academia Sinica and leading Taiwanese vaccine manufacturers to discuss and deepen cooperation regarding the research and development of such biotechnology as rapid screening kits, reagents, and vaccines.

➢ Establishing cooperative partnerships: In addition to establishing a cooperation framework with the US, Taiwan is also collaborating with Australia for the exchange of materials to combat COVID-19. Taiwan will also start working with the Czech Republic on the R&D and production of rapid screening kits, vaccines, and medicines, as well as exchanges of medical supplies and equipment, establishing a multifaceted framework of cooperation in public health and epidemic prevention and containment.

➢ Working with civic groups and NGOs: For example, Catholic groups in Taiwan have been deeply concerned about the situation in Italy and recently arranged for equipment to be sent to Italy through the Holy See's Apostolic Nunciature in Taipei, including goggles, caps, face shields, endotracheal tubes, and phlegm suction kits. MOFA and private enterprises also jointly donated 25 ventilators as well as other medical supplies such as face shields, disinfectant spray, and ventilator filters to hospitals in heavily impacted areas of the Czech Republic.
MOFA stated that to efficiently implement international humanitarian assistance, it will maintain close contact with other ministries and agencies so as to draw up more appropriate assistance and cooperation plans.
For years, Taiwan has been excluded from the global health system. Although Taiwan initially fought a lone and arduous battle to prevent the spread of the pandemic, its advance efforts and response measures have earned the recognition of numerous governments worldwide. Taiwan is willing and able to provide assistance and engage in bilateral and multilateral endeavors to contain the disease.
Taiwan can help and Taiwan is helping. Taiwan should not be excluded from the international public health system. Taiwan again urges WHO to comprehensively include it in related meetings, mechanisms and activities, so that Taiwan can work hand in hand with the world to overcome this grave challenge. Taiwan will take concrete actions to prove to the international community that the world needs Taiwan and that Taiwan will not be absent. (E)