SEOUL, March 31 (Korea Bizwire) — The Seoul metropolitan government said Tuesday that it will provide a total of 100,000 filter replaceable face masks to foreign residents who are sidelined from the government-controlled mask supply system amid the coronavirus outbreak.
According to the municipal government, 100,000 sets of a reusable cotton mask with five filters will be given at the Seoul Global Center, a comprehensive support center for foreigners in central Seoul, and 40 universities in the capital.
South Korea started a mask rationing system on March 9 as a way to tackle a mask shortage stemming from the rapid spread of COVID-19.
Under the scheme, South Korean nationals can buy up to two protective masks per week from pharmacies on designated days of the week.
Foreign residents need to present their alien registration card and have a national health insurance policy to get the government-distributed face masks.
But many short-term residents and foreign students are not entitled to sign up for the state health insurance as they have to stay at least six months in South Korea.
Seoul city said the supply of face masks to short-term foreigners will not only help them stay healthy but also protect Seoul citizens from the infectious virus.
South Korea has reported about 9,800 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus as of Tuesday.