South Korean authorities said on Wednesday they were watching whether the country had sufficient stockpiles of coronavirus test kits to expand exports to the us after U.S. President Donald Trump made an invitation for help.
Trump made the request during a call late on Tuesday with President Moon Jae-in who said Seoul would offer the maximum amount support as possible if there was spare equipment, consistent with a press release from South Korea's Blue House.
"We have currently secured enough volume and stocks of the test kits for domestic use, but I even have to see further on the supply for the utilization of exports," Jeong Eun-kyeong, chief of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters.
The news comes because the us experiences fast-growing outbreaks during a number of states and thousands of latest cases per day - developments which also prompted South Korea to mention on Wednesday it might tighten border controls for travellers from the us .
Jeong said South Korea has the power to conduct as many as 20,000 tests per day.
Seegene Inc, the sole listed firm among the five manufacturers approved to form test kits for the virus, said on Wednesday it already supplies about 70% to 80% of the kits getting used in Italy and therefore the us . It declined to specify those numbers.
Jeong also said South Korea has received requests from around 10 countries for kits and other support but declined to spot the countries. the govt has said it's exported some kits to the United Arab Emirates and is in talks with other nations.
Moon visited Seegene on Wednesday and also met the chiefs of 4 other kit manufacturers to praise their diligence and contribution to the containment of the virus. Shares in Seegene surged 30% to a record high on the news of Trump's request.
The request highlights the diverging paths the 2 countries have taken since both discovered their first coronavirus cases on an equivalent day.
After an enormous early outbreak, South Korea unrolled widespread testing within days, swiftly launching an aggressive programme to isolate confirmed cases and trace their contacts.
It won praise for slowing the spread of the disease with comparatively little disruption. South Korea has 9,137 confirmed infections with just 126 deaths, and has brought the amount of latest infections per day to 100 or less for the past 14 straight days.
By contrast, the us has quite 53,500 reported cases and quite 700 deaths and is shutting down a part of the country en bloc .
South Korea said it might tighten border checks for travellers from the us by Friday in line with other countries which have experienced large outbreaks.
"We do not have much time given things where our citizens living in North America including students who are anxious a few rise in confirmed patients there and who are expected to return home," Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told a gathering .
Visitors from Europe, China, Italy and Iran are required to check in to a smartphone application to trace whether or not they have any symptoms like fever. A two-week mandatory quarantine for all long-term arrivals from Europe took effect last Thursday.