JAKARTA, Indonesia, Feb. 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — 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.
"In Happy Valley, the locals take various preventive actions to avoid the spread of the disease. Many of them wear masks in public spaces," Yana said.
Responding to this situation, Global Humanity Response (GHR) – Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) distributed thousands of boxes of face masks for countries where face masks are scarce due to the outbreak. To date, the GHR – ACT team has distributed the face masks to three countries.
The distribution of the masks was spread at various points in the country. Since the migrant workers cannot get out often, the distribution was done in stages in collaboration with related institutions such as PCIM of Taiwan, the Indonesian Muslim Student Association (IMSA), ILHAM, and the UB Foundation in Hong Kong. "We, the Indonesian citizens here, are very grateful to receive masks from ACT. Not only it is difficult to buy, and sometimes they are not even available," Dwi said.
Both Dwi and Yana hoped that the coronavirus outbreak would be resolved so that they go back to their healthy lives. They also hope for further interference from the government to help them face this condition. Let’s support the efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by giving the best aid through https://donate.act.id/ (Emergency Response – Coronavirus)
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