(June 26, 2020) On May 29, 2020, Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) announced that the ban on exporting masks made in Taiwan would be lifted effective June 1, 2020. The restriction that Taiwanese residents could send no more than 30 masks every two months to their overseas relatives was also lifted at the same time, according to Taiwan Centers for Disease Control.
To ensure the local supply of masks, the Taiwanese government had banned mask exports and requisitioned all masks made in Taiwan since January 2020, at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak. The government then launched a name-based mask distribution program, which allows residents to purchase masks at pharmacies using their national health insurance cards.
Currently, according to the MOEA, the government has 200–300 million masks stockpiled. Although Taiwan’s daily production capacity of 20 million masks is expected to decline, the daily demand does not exceed 10 million, which is also expected to further decline as the infection rates continue to stabilize and the weather starts to warm up. The export ban, therefore, is no longer necessary.
In addition, effective June 7, 2020, passengers on public transportation are no longer required to wear masks as long as sufficient social distance can be maintained, although they must still wear masks and have their temperature taken when entering the stations. The sale of goods on trains has resumed, and domestic airlines are allowed to offer beverages during flights. The limit on the number of people allowed at cultural and leisure events—100 indoors and 500 outdoors—is also lifted, among other COVID-19 restrictions that have been loosened in June.
Taiwan has won global praise for its effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of June 25, 2020, a total of 447 confirmed cases of COVID-19 had been reported in Taiwan, 356 of which are imported cases, out of a population of almost 24 million.