Maryland governor says coronavirus tests acquired from South Korea under guard at undisclosed location

Source: The Hill | April 30, 2020 | Zack Budryk and J. Edward Moreno

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Thursday that thousands of coronavirus tests obtained by the state from South Korea are currently protected in an undisclosed location by the Maryland National Guard.

Asked in a Washington Post Live interview whether he was concerned the federal government would seize the tests, Hogan acknowledged “it was a little bit of a concern.”

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“And then at the last moment, I think 24 hours before, we got the sign-off from the FDA and Border and Customs, to try to make sure that we landed this plane safely,” he continued.

Hogan said state officials ensured the plane landed at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport rather than Dulles International Airport in Virginia, noting that it was the first time a Korean Air passenger plane had landed at the airport.

“We landed it there with a large contingent of Maryland National Guard and Maryland State Police, because this was an enormously valuable payload. It was like Fort Knox to us, because it’s going to save the lives of thousands of our citizens,” Hogan continued.

Asked whether the National Guard was continuing to protect the tests from seizure, Hogan responded, “They are.” 

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Hogan’s decision reflects growing distrust between states seeking to outsource their own medical supplies and federal agencies. 

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) had a purchase of 3 million N95 masks confiscated by an unspecified federal agency at the Port of New York in March just as the state was in the process of acquiring another 1.2 million from China. 

Baker ultimately relied on a private jet owned by the New England Patriots to transport the other 1.2 million masks that he purchased from China to Boston. 

Two weeks later, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) arranged for two charter flights to transport millions of masks and gloves from China to Illinois, intentionally keeping the details of the flights secret from the Trump administration to avoid confiscation.

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