ACT continues to send aid to countries to face Coronavirus outbreak

ACT has continued to search for more face masks for Indonesian citizens and the other beneficiaries in Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Taiwan

ACT, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Aksi Cepat Tanggap, COVID-19, Mainland China, Taipei City, Dwi Susanti, Muhammadiyah Special Branch, PCIM, New Taiwan Dollars, Hong Kong Dollars

After collaborating with various partners, including the international NGO Peace Wind Japan (PWJ), until now, Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) has sent 1,610 boxes of the masks. 1,210 boxes were sent to Hong Kong, 300 boxes to Taiwan, and 100 boxes to Singapore. In addition, since last week, ACT has continued to search for more face masks for Indonesian citizens and the other beneficiaries in Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Taiwan. The recent data from South China Morning Post showed that 79,363 COVID-19 cases were recorded globally, with a total of 2,522 deaths in China on February 24. In addition to Mainland China, COVID-19 cases have also been reported in 30 other countries.

With the epidemic continuing to spread, the need for masks increases to the point of scarcity, like what happens in Taiwan. The "Taiwanese government" controls the sales of the face masks using the odd-even policy. Additionally, the face masks can only be bought at selected pharmaceutical stores using a special ID similar to the BPJS card in Indonesia.

"The purchase is also arranged based on odd-even regulation. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, owners of cards ending in an even number can buy face masks. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, holders of cards ending in an odd number can buy. For the Indonesians, especially the migrant workers, this is quite difficult because they mostly work in the suburbs on weekdays. Sometimes they have queued, but the masks are already out of stock," Dwi Susanti from Muhammadiyah Special Branch (PCIM) of Taiwan, said on Monday (2/16).

The price of face masks in Taipei City, where Dwi lives, is still quite affordable, around 10-20 New Taiwan Dollars (NTD) each, or equal to IDR. 7,000 – 9,000. The price is much higher in Hong Kong, reaching up to tens of thousands of rupiah each.

"Face masks are expensive and rare. One box costs between 400-500 Hong Kong Dollars (HKD). About IDR 80,000-90,000 each," said Yana Sulistyana, an Indonesian living in Happy Valley, Hong Kong.
Although masks are expensive and rare, they are required to wear masks in public places as a form of prevention against coronavirus. In Taipei City, where Dwi works, several public institutions levied fines on people who do not wear face masks.

"Fines are imposed by agencies for workers because my job is taking care of the elderly. According to the data, people over the age of 50 are most vulnerable to infection," Dwi explained