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The Government of the Republic of Korea has donated US$300,000 in testing kits geared towards Jamaica’s fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The supplies are Kogene Biotech: PowerChek SARS-CoV-2 Real-time PCR Kits for 20,000 tests and AddPrep Viral Nucleic Acid Extraction Kits for 20,000 tests.

The items were officially handed over on Tuesday (November 17) by Charge d’Affaires, Republic of Korea in Jamaica, Lim Baejin, to the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, at the offices of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, in New Kingston.

This is the second time that the Korean Government has offered its support to Jamaica in its COVID-19 response.

In April 2020, the Government of Korea, in collaboration with the Korea East-West Power Company, donated two real-time PCR Systems for testing and analysis, DNA/RNA Sample Kits capable of testing 7,500 samples and real-time PCR Sample Kits capable of testing 7,500 samples to the Government of Jamaica.

Dr. Tufton categorised the supplies as “gold standard” and said the response to the pandemic in Jamaica can only be successful through partnerships such as these.

In keeping with this, he thanked the Republic of Korea representatives for the donation.

“On behalf of the Government and people of Jamaica, I wish to thank the Government and people of the Republic of Korea for its generosity in supporting Jamaica’s effort in combatting the COVID-19 challenge,” Dr. Tufton said.

“COVID-19 response has shown us that it requires a never-before-seen level of resource mobilisation to finance national public health response plans. This, is in order to protect public health and, in particular, the health of our vulnerable communities,” he added.

For her part, Minister Johnson Smith also expressed gratitude.

“As we continue our efforts to protect Jamaicans against the most dangerous effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jamaica is grateful that we are not alone in this fight,” Senator Johnson Smith said.

“We commend the Government of Korea on its response to the outbreak of COVID-19, and today I want to especially recognise my colleague, Foreign Minister Kang [Kyung-wha], who has been advocating for increased international cooperation in the fight against COVID-19,” she said.

Meanwhile, Charge d’Affaires Baejin said that it was their pleasure to assist Jamaica at this time.

“I believe this unwavering cooperation in these tough times is symbolic of the true friendship between our two countries,” he said.

“Since my arrival in Jamaica this March, I have observed the Jamaican Government efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus and I must say that Jamaicans should feel proud that their Government is trying their best to protect them,” he added.

Jamaica and the Republic of Korea have shared a strong diplomatic relationship that dates back some 50 years.

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