Taiwan donates 500,000 surgical masks to Canada, including 25,000 to B.C., to help in fight against COVID-19

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      The East Asian country of Taiwan was close to the eye of the COVID-19 hurricane when the disease took off in nearby China in early 2020.

      But thanks to a proactive response by the democratically elected government in Taipei, there have been only seven deaths and 440 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.

      In the early days, Taiwan banned the export of personal protective equipment. Now that the disease has been mostly contained, its government has given some of its surplus to Canada.

      Last week, the director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Vancouver, Andy Chen, donated 25,000 surgical masks to the B.C. government. They were received by Minister of Citizens' Services Anne Kang and Minister of State for Child Care, Katrina Chen, who presented Chen with a thank-you letter from Premier John Horgan.

      In total, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has given Canada 500,000 surgical masks. Of those, 50,000 have gone to Ontario, 25,000 to Alberta, and 400,000 to the Canadian government.

      TECO in Vancouver director general Andy Chen wants Canadians to know that Taiwan is eager to help them in their fight against COVID-19.

      Kang was born in Taiwan and moved to B.C. as a child. In January, she became the first Taiwanese-born politician in Canada to oversee a ministry with her own deputy minister when she was appointed to cabinet.

      Chen was also born in Taiwan and moved to B.C. as a student. In 2017, she became the first Taiwanese-born politician to be appointed to any provincial or federal cabinet in Canada.