Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told the Washington Post in a live interview on Thursday that thousands of COVID-19 tests obtained by the state from South Korea are protected in a secret location by the National Gaurd.
"The National Guard and the State Police are both guarding these tests at an undisclosed location," Hogan said.
"There had been reports of, for example in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker told the story of his planeload …with masks was basically confiscated by the federal government," he said, adding that, "it was a little bit of a concern" knowing the federal government would attempt to seize the tests.
Maryland @GovLarryHogan on whether he was concerned that the federal government would seize the tests the state procured from South Korea. He says the tests are being guarded by the National Guard at an undisclosed location. https://t.co/uGcUi6U5rL pic.twitter.com/15BhHmLzql— Washington Post Live (@postlive) April 30, 2020
"We spent about 22 days and nights dealing with this whole transaction with Korea. We dealt with the Korean Embassy, folks at the State Department ... and our scientists on both sides trying to, you know, figure out these tests," Hogan said, noting that the purchase of the tests was also in coordination with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
"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.
According to Hogan, the plane was instructed to land at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport rather than airports in Washington because it would be harder for the federal government to seize the tests:
"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,”"he said.
Hogan said National Guard troops are currently protecting the tests at an undisclosed location. "These things are being distributed; they're [National Guard] helping us distribute the tests," he said. We showed in March how the National Guard was deployed across the Baltimore Metropolitan Area as cases and deaths continued to soar in the state.
It was noted in the interview that Maryland received upwards of 500,000 tests from South Korea. It was reported last month that China continues to flood the world with defective medical equipment. Washington state purchased thousands of tests from China, which some turned out to be "contaminated."