Maryland acquires 500,000 COVID-19 tests from South Korea

Posted at 12:14 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 07:50:43-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Governor Larry Hogan announced a major breakthrough in COVID-19 testing in Maryland on Monday.

The state acquired 500,000 tests from LabGenomics in South Korea, on top of 40,000 additional tests that were received last week from elsewhere.

A Korean Air plane delivered the test kits directly from Incheon, South Korea to BWI Airport on Saturday. The flight was the first of its kind to ever land at BWI, according to the Governor's office.

The number of tests delivered from South Korea are roughly equal to the total amount of testing that has been completed by four of the top five states in America combined, according to Hogan.

Talks to acquire the tests began on March 28 when the Governor and First Lady Yumi Hogan called Korea’s Ambassador, which started over three-weeks of vetting and negotiations.

For her effort, the Governor called his wife “truly a champion."

Yumi Hogan is the first Korean American to be a First Lady in the history of the United States.

Maryland has now completed over 71,000 tests, and invested $2.5 million to help the University of Baltimore lab handle up to 20,000 tests per day.

“As Maryland begins its reopening and recovery, Marylanders should feel confident in knowing that we have done everything in our power, gone to every length, and used every tool and every resource at our disposal to defeat this deadly virus," said Hogan.

More testing is one of four building blocks that make up Hogan's "Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery," which also includes increasing hospital surge capacity, more PPE, and improved contact tracing operations.

Hogan is expected to provide more information on the plan later in the week.