South Korea Shipping Covid-19 Tests to US

South Korea is responding to President Trump’s request for Covid-19 test kits, as their development and production has lagged in the United States.

Scientists with the Jena Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology have developed a rapid antibody test for the new coronavirus. South Korea is sending two different types of Covid-19 test kits to the United States this week. (AP photo/Jens Meyer)

SEOUL, South Korea (AFP) — South Korean firms will make their first shipment of coronavirus tests to the United States this week after a request by President Trump, Yonhap news agency reported Monday.

The United States has more confirmed Covid-19 cases than anywhere else in the world and also the highest toll, with more than 22,000 deaths.

In contrast, South Korea was once the hardest-hit country outside China, but appears to have brought its outbreak under control with a huge “trace, test and treat” strategy.

It has tested more than half a million people for free to anyone referred by doctors or those who have links to a confirmed case.

The Trump administration has been accused of being slow to respond to the outbreak.

After a phone conversation with him last month, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Trump had asked for test kits.

A Maryland-bound U.S. cargo flight will depart from Incheon International Airport on Tuesday, carrying test kits supplied by two companies, Yonhap reported, citing a foreign ministry official in Seoul.

The firms are among three South Korean companies that won interim approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the report stated, without specifying the quantities involved or the manufacturers.

A foreign ministry spokeswoman confirmed to AFP that a shipment of tests would be sent on Tuesday but declined to go into details.

South Korean test kit-maker SD Biosensor told AFP in March that it was making 350,000 tests a day and would increase output to 1 million a day in April, with an eye on exports.

More than 70& of the South’s 10,537 confirmed coronavirus patients had recovered as of Sunday, according to South Korean health authorities.

© Agence France-Presse

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