Ministry of food and drug safety

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[Press Release, Jun 16, 2020] Increased limits on purchases of rationed filtering respirators and surgical masks; one person can buy 10
  • Registration Date 2020-08-06
  • Hit 366
[Press Release, Jun 16, 2020 / unofficial translation]



Increased limits on purchases of rationed filtering respirators and surgical masks; one person can buy 10
- Mandatory rationing proprotion of filtering respirators and surgical masks reduced to 50%, exports expanded to 30% -


□ The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS; Minister Lee, Eui-Kyung) said that it will increase the number of filtering respirators and surgical masks rationed for each person per week to 10, while lowering the proportion of filtering respirators for public mandatory supply and increasing the proportion of those for export.

○ The measure, which was taken after consultation with related ministries, aims to meet the diverse needs of the people and ensure more convenient purchases as the supply and demand are being stabilized with the implementation of the public mask system entering its fourth month.

1) The number of publicly supplied “filtering respirators” and ”surgical masks” one can purchase increase from 3 to 10
2) Mandatory supply volume of filtering respirators to public retailers lowered from 60 percent or more of production volume to 50 percent
3) Limit on the export of filtering respirators increased from 10 percent of output to 30 percent
4) Effective period of emergency supply and demand adjustment measures extended from until June 30 to until July 11


[1] The number of publicly supplied “filtering respirators” and ”surgical masks” one can purchase increase from 3 to 10

□ Starting June 18 (Thursday), the number of public masks each person can buy will be increased to 10.

○ Currently, one person can purchase up to 3 publicly supplied filtering respirators and surgical masks per week (5 for those born after 2002), and the ceiling will be raised to 10 to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and enhance convenience of purchasers.
※ Note: If one purchased 3 masks from June 15 (Monday) to June 17 (Wednesday), he or she can purchase seven more from June 18 (Thursday) to June 21 (Sunday).

○ However, the duplicate purchase confirmation system will remain to ensure fair distribution.
- Buyers need a certified identification card as before and they can purchase masks at once or in installments.
- Those who want do proxy purchase have only to visit the sales outlets carrying documents to identify the visitor and the person to purchase by proxy.


[2] Mandatory supply volume of filtering respirators to public retailers lowered from 60 percent of production volume to 50 percent

□ Starting June 18th (Thursday), the proportion of masks that filtering respirator producers must supply to public mask retailers will be adjusted to less than 50% of their output.

○ Currently, filtering respirator producers must supply at least 60% of their output to public mask sellers.

○ Recently, the demand for filtering respirators has been decreasing, but the demand for anti-droplet masks that are more suitable for use in the summer is increasing.

○ Accordingly, the government plans to reduce the mandatory public supply by filtering respirator manufacturers to less than 50 percent* to vitalize the private market, and build a ground for expanding the production of anti-droplet masks.
※ The specific supply quota will be determined by consultation between manufacturers and the government.

○ However, manufacturers of “surgical masks” should continue to supply 60 percent of the production volume in order to ensure a stable supply to medical institutions, and anti-droplet masks will stay excluded from the mandatory public supply so they can be distributed in the private market.


[3] Limit on the export proportion of filtering respirators raised from 10 percent to 30 percent

□ The limit on the export volume of filtering respirators will be raised to 30 percent of output from June 18 (Thursday) to promote international collaboration for COVID-19 response and export of K-quarantine products.

○ Currently, only filtering respirator producers (including specialized trading companies that have signed export contracts with manufacturers) are allowed to export up to 10 percent of their daily output, but the mask industry has raised concerns as the limits on export volume hampered the signing of actual export contracts.

○ Therefore, the government took into account the current stability in the production and supply of filtering respirators and the government stockpile and decided to raise the export limit to 30 percent of the daily output, and also allow export by general trading companies that have signed export contracts with manufacturers, in addition to specialized trading firms.
※ Allow only exports by manufacturers and those who have signed export contracts with manufacturers to prevent reckless exports of masks collected in massive buying from affecting domestic distribution.

○ Exporting “surgical masks” and “anti-droplet masks” will remain prohibited to put priority to domestic supply.


[4] Effective period of the emergency supply and demand adjustment measures extended from until June 30 to until July 11

□ The effective period of the current emergency supply and demand adjustment measures (put on public notice) stipulating the filtering respirator rationing system will be extended from until June 30 to until July 11.

○ The obligation of filtering respirator manufacturers to supply to public retailers of filtering respirators will be kept until June 30, and from July 1 to 11, filtering respirators in stock at the public retailers will be supplied to pharmacies.

○ July 11 is the last date of the effective period for emergency supply and demand adjustment measures taken under the 「Price Stabilization Act」, and during the period, the government plans to closely monitor the market, including the production and sales of filtering respirators and anti-droplet masks, and carefully determine whether to maintain the filtering respirator rationing system in the future and assess the possibility of market functions being restored.


□ When using a mask, you must wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer before putting it on, make sure that there are no gaps between the face and the mask, cover your nose and mouth, and do not touch the mask while wearing it.


□ The demand for anti-droplet masks is increasing due to the hot weather, but supply is falling short due to low production.

○ The MFDS is working with the industry to increase the production and supply of anti-droplet masks, and licensed 40 items from 22 companies.

○ Until supply is expanded, it advised that those most in need of protection against COVID-19, such as children, elderly, and pregnant women, are given way and that people who take care of suspected COVID-19 patients wear the KF94 filtering respirator.


< Attachment > Major changes in the public mask system to enhance convenience of purchase
March 9 * Implement five-day rotation quota system
: Allow purchase of public masks as an exception to the direct purchase rule
ㅇ Those born in and before 1940
ㅇ Those born in and after 2010
ㅇ Recipients of long-term benefits
ㅇ Disabled

March 23
: Expand the scope of proxy purchase
ㅇ Pregnant women
ㅇ Disabled patriots and veterans

April 6
: Expand the scope of proxy purchase
ㅇ Those born in 2002-2009
ㅇ Patients in nursing homes
ㅇ Inpatients in long-term care facilities
ㅇ Hospital inpatients

April 20
: Expand the scope of proxy purchase
ㅇ Family members listed on family relations certificate
: Allow foreigners to purchase public masks
ㅇ Long-staying foreigners with no health insurance

April 27
: Expand purchase quota
ㅇ Purchase limit per person per week: 2 → 3
: Improve proxy purchase method
ㅇ Allow proxy purchaser to buy masks on the day he or she is designated to buy his or her own

May 18
: xpand the scope of proxy-purchasers
- Allow all family members (cohabitants) to make proxy purchases
: Increase purchase convenience
- Allow installment purchases on weekdays and weekend

June 1
: Abolish five-day rotation system for filtering respirator rationing
: Weekly per capita purchase quota for 18 years or younger: 3 to 5
* The ceiling for 19 years and older remains at 3.

June 18
: Increase filtering respirator purchase limit
ㅇ Quota for one person per week: 3∼5 → 10
Attached File

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