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US state buys 500,000 virus test kits from South Korea

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Apr 21, 2020 - 07:40 AM

WASHINGTON (AA) – The U.S. state of Maryland has purchased half a million coronavirus test kits from South Korea, its governor announced Monday.

“The 500,000 test capacity, which we have just acquired, is equal to the total amount of testing which has been completed by four of the top five states in America combined,” Larry Hogan told reporters at a press briefing.

Hogan said he and his Korean-American wife, Yumi, made a phone call to South Korea’s Ambassador to the United States Lee Soo-hyuck on March 28.

“We spoke of the special relationship between Maryland and the Republic of Korea, and we made a personal plea in Korean asking for their assistance,” he added.

The test kits will cost the state around $9 million, according to Hogan.

Hours after the announcement, President Donald Trump reacted to the news during a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing and criticized Hogan’s purchase from Seoul.

“The governor of Maryland could have called [Vice President] Mike Pence and saved a lot of money. I don’t think he needed to go to South Korea.

“I think he needed to get a little knowledge,” Trump said.

The U.S. leads the world in the number of coronavirus infections and deaths with 784,326 cases, 41,872 fatalities and more than 72,000 recoveries.

Since the virus emerged last December in the Chinese city of Wuhan, it has spread to at least 185 countries and regions.

There are more than 2.4 million confirmed infections globally and nearly 170,000 deaths.

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