South Korea plans to send 600,000 coronavirus test kits to the United States on Tuesday, at the request of President Donald Trump, a Seoul official told Reuters on Monday.
Trump made a phone call to President Moon Jae-in on March 25 to test kits because the United States had to deal with rapidly growing outbreaks in many states.
A U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency cargo plane with the equipment is scheduled to depart at 10:30 p.m. (1330 GMT) the official said on Tuesday on condition of anonymity due to the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue.
The kits were manufactured by two of the three companies that received a preliminary arrival from the United States Food and Drug Administration late last month, the official said, but declined to name them.
The shipments will be handed over to and paid for by the U.S. government, while the additional 150,000 kits will be exported in the near future to be sold through an unspecified local retailer, the official said.
The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
South Korean companies have shipped test kits to U.S. cities such as Los Angeles. However, this would be the first major order from the United States government.
After struggling with the first major outbreak outside of China, South Korea largely managed to get its coronavirus cases under control without major disruption thanks to a massive test campaign and intensive contact tracking.
South Korea owes part of its success to the efforts of government officials and private companies to develop and secure regulatory approval for testing so that the country can quickly test thousands of people.
The United States has had more deaths from the virus than any other country, nearly 22,000 on Sundays, with 42 states imposing strict instructions on staying at home.
"We went as quickly as possible to get the necessary permits because the situation there is urgent," said the South Korean official.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)