Foreign nationals without NHI cards left out of mask rationing plan

Focus Taiwan
Date: 02/04/2020
By: Lee Hsin-Yin

CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 4 (CNA) When a new rationing system for surgical masks takes effect Thursday, all customers will be required to present their national health insurance (NHI)cards at pharmacies and drugstores to buy the masks, but a plan is still being worked out for those foreign nationals who do not have NHI coverage, the health ministry said Tuesday.

The ministry's statement came after the government on Monday announced a new mask-rationing system that effectively excluded about 50,000 foreign nationals who do not have NHI cards.

Under the rationing system, Taiwanese and foreign nationals with NHI cards will be allowed to buy two masks per week at drugstores and pharmacies, said Chang You-hsuan (張鈺旋), an official at the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW).

On Sundays, anyone will be able to buy the masks, once they present their NHI cards, but on the other days of the week, sales will be staggered based on the last digit of the ID number on the NHI card, Chang said.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, masks will be sold to people whose ID numbers end with an odd digit, while Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays will be for those with even-digit last numbers on their ID, she said.    [FULL  STORY]

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