South Korea to ship 600,000 COVID-19 test kits to the U.S. on Tuesday

On Monday, an official from South Korea stated, Seoul plans on sending 600,000 coronavirus testing kits to the United States on Tuesday following a request for the same from U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump made the request for testing kits in a phone call on March 25 with President Moon Jae-in.

The official went on to add, a U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency cargo plane is scheduled to carry the equipment at 10:30 p.m. (1330 GMT) on Tuesday.

The official preferred the cover of anonymity due to the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue.

The shipments will be paid for by the U.S. government, said the official.

“An additional 150,000 kits will be exported in the near future and will be sold through an unspecified local retailer,” said the official.

“The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) kits will be sourced from three companies that secured preliminary approval late last month from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to export kits to the United States,” said the official.

The official declined to name the two companies that will provide the shipments on Tuesday.

According to another source with direct knowledge of the matter at hand stated on the condition of anonymity that, one of the two firms supplying the testing kits is Osang Healthcare.

Although South Korean companies have previously helped the United States and have shipped test kits to the U.S., this shipment marks the first bulk order from the U.S. government.

South Korea has largely managed to bring down its coronavirus tally under control without major disruptions thanks to a massive testing campaign and intensive contact tracing.

The U.S. has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 fatalities, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, than any other country, with 22,000 deaths as of Sunday. 42 U.S. states have imposed strict stay-at-home orders.

“We’ve moved as quickly as possible to get necessary clearances given the urgency of the situation there,” said official.

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