Hogan: 500,000 tests from Korea

Governor Larry Hogan Facebook/Screenshot
Gov. Larry Hogan announces the receipt of 500,000 COVID-19 test kits from South Korea, which will significantly ramp up Maryland’s testing ability which as of Monday, April 20 was just 71,000 tests performed. From left with Gov. Hogan at his April 20 news conference are Hong Seok-in, South Korea’s director general for public diplomacy and cultural affairs for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Jimmy Belson, sign language interpreter; and First Lady Yumi Hogan.

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced Monday afternoon the receipt over the weekend of 5,000 LabGun COVID-19 PCR test kits from South Korea. The delivery means the state now has the capability to conduct 500,000 individual tests, more than the top four other states combined.

Gov. Hogan said, “We’ve been doing everything in our power” as his administration searched for weeks in the United States and abroad for more kits, which are in critically short supply.

The tests arrived in a Korean Air Boeing 777 charter flight. The aircraft was met by a delegation including National Guard troops, the governor and his wife Yumi.

Gov. Hogan said the kits cost $9 million.

On March 28, “Operation Enduring Friendship” was launched when the governor’s Korean-American wife Yumi spoke to the Korean ambassador to the United Nations. “We made a personal plea, in Korean, for their assistance,” Gov. Hogan said.

In the following weeks, calls were made nearly daily, often late at night as a result of the 13-hour time difference, to arrange for the purchase and transportation of the kits. The delivery itself was the first time a Korean Air jet landed at Baltimore-Washington Airport.

Other arrangements involved vetting the tests’ producers, LabGenomics, and obtaining clearance from many federal agencies for the shipment.
Ms. Hogan herself represents another first — she is the first Korean-American to serve as the first lady of any state. That relationship was noticed by President of South Korea Moon Jae-in during a video call with state governors at the home of Ambassador the United States Su-hyok Yi in February, when President Moon referred to Gov. Hogan as a “hang-gook sai,” or son-in-law, to the Korean people.

“I want to sincerely thank our Korean partners,” Gov. Hogan said, adding in Korean, “Gamsahabnida,” meaning, “Thank you.”


Helpful Coronavirus links

Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage

Have a question about the coronavirus? Submit it to our newsroom and we’ll ask the appropriate public officials.