South Korea Sends Masks to Adoptees abroad

Αssociated Press

A woman wearing a face mask and gloves as a precaution against the new coronavirus stands to check visitors temperatures near decorative lanterns for the celebration of Buddha s birthday at the Jogye temple in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, May 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea says it plans to send 370,000 face masks to tens of thousands of South Korea-born adoptees living in the West to help them weather the coronavirus.

The Foreign Ministry said its diplomatic missions will work with dozens of international adoptee groups to distribute the masks to adoptees in 14 countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and European nations such as Britain, Germany, France and Italy.

The ministry said it initially planned to send 100,000 masks but decided to expand the supplies because most South Korean adoptees were sent abroad as infants during the 1970s and 1980s and are now old enough to have their own children.

South Korea has been a major source of babies for Western adoptive parents since the end of 1950-53 Korean War. According to official figures, there are around 167,000 South Korean adoptees living abroad, including 110,000 in the United States. But experts say the actual number would be closer to 200,000.

South Korea is also in the process of sending 1 million masks to foreign veterans of the Korean War.