By The Associated Press
The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 450,000 people and killed over 20,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems. More than 112,000 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.
TOP OF THE HOUR:
-- Dog-walking, alcohol sales banned during South Africa lockdown.
-- Turkey keeping schools closed through April 30.
-- Nearly 700 more deaths in Italy, but cases leveling off.
JOHANNESBURG -- South Africa's police minister says dog-walking is banned during the country's three-week lockdown that begins Friday to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
Bheki Cele also said people can't go running, contradicting the health minister's comments earlier in the day.
And Cele warned South Africans to essentially stay sober for 21 days, emphasizing that alcohol sales are prohibited.
The military and police will patrol to regulate movement, and all ports of entry are now closed. South Africa has the most COVID-19 cases in Africa with more than 700.
LONDON -- Britain's deputy ambassador to Hungary has died after contracting the new coronavirus.
The Foreign Office says Steven Dick, who was 37, died Tuesday in Hungary. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he was "desperately saddened by the news."
Dick previously served in U.K. diplomatic posts in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan and had been based in Budapest since late last year.
Dick's parents said he had long dreamed of becoming a diplomat and "was very happy representing our country overseas. We are devastated by his loss."
LONDON -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says more than 400,000 people have responded within a day to the government's call for volunteers to help support the country's most vulnerable people during the coronavirus outbreak.
On Monday the government called for a quarter of a million healthy people to sign up as "volunteer responders." Johnson said 405,000 had already volunteered.
The National Health Service said the volunteers would start next week helping the 1.5 million people in Britain who have been asked to stay home and avoid contact with others for 12 weeks because they have underlying health conditions that increase their risk from the virus.
Johnson said they will perform tasks including delivering medicines, driving people home from medical appointments and making phone calls to check on people.
Johnson said "thank you on behalf of the entire country" to all those who have volunteered.
ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey says it is keeping schools closed at least until April 30 as part of its effort to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
The decision was announced following a meeting of Turkey's scientific advisory council on Wednesday.
The country closed schools two weeks ago and introduced remote schooling via the internet and television broadcasts. Education Minister Ziya Selcuk told reporters however, that "face-to-face" make-up classes would be held as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 26 COVID-19 patients had recovered from the disease so far, including two people in their sixties who were treated in intensive care. A total of 136 people are still in intensive care, the minister said, including 102 who are intubated.
The minister said the 136 ICU patients were being administered a drug imported from China, which was reportedly effective in treating coronavirus patients there. Koca said Turkey could purchase more if it proves successful on the ICU patients in Turkey.
The country has so far reported 44 COVID-19 deaths and a total of 1,872 infections.
ATHENS, Greece -- Authorities in Greece say the country's virus death toll has risen to 22 after two more deaths were reported, while the confirmed number of cases rose by 78 to reach 821.
Civil protection officials Wednesday also announced that several remote villages in northeastern Greece, near the country's border with Bulgaria, had been placed in quarantine due to a local spike in new coronavirus cases.
Separately, in neighboring North Macedonia, authorities reported a third virus death with the national case total at 177 people.
LAS VEGAS -- Air traffic controllers are back at work at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, a week after a co-worker tested positive for the new coronavirus.
The Federal Aviation Administration posted an update Wednesday saying that staffing should increase throughout the day.
Airport service slowed due to airline cancellations, and delays were reported after the control tower closure on March 18.
McCarran ranks as one of the busiest passenger airports in the nation. But arriving flights were reduced Monday to about 12 an hour. Federal officials reported Tuesday that a security screener at McCarran also tested positive for COVID-19.
ROME -- Italy has added 683 more dead and 5,210 infections to its coronavirus toll, but its initial steep rise in cases has continued to level off two weeks into a nationwide lockdown.
The new figures brought the number of infections to 74,386 and placed Italy on track to overtake China in the next day or two in having the most reported cases in the world. Italy last week reported more dead than China and on Wednesday registered a total of 7,503 dead with the virus, confirming its place as the European epicenter of the pandemic.
Dr. Massimo Galli of Milan's Sacco Hospital said that the infections being verified in these days result from before many of the containment measures went into effect March 11. He told SKY TG24 that in his estimation the restrictions won't be lifted any time soon.
"This is hard, but the numbers and facts say it," Galli said.
His team at the Sacco Hospital has determined that the virus has been circulating in Italy since Jan. 25-26, and that it took almost a month for it to become recognized, around Feb. 20-21. That puts Italy as of March 3 at the same place Wuhan, China was on Jan. 25, he said, noting that China is only coming out of tight restrictions now, two months later.
PRAGUE -- The Czech Republic's government is tightening restrictions in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus, banning gatherings of more than two people in public.
The Health Ministry said Wednesday that people from the same household are still allowed to go out together.
The only other exceptions includes the mourners at funerals and business activities.
People should also keep a distance of 2 meters (7 feet) between one another.
The government already banned travels across the country except going to and from work and shopping, attending funerals, visiting hospitals or going out for a walk or sports.
Three men infected with the coronavirus died on Wednesday, bringing the death toll in the Czech Republic to six. A total cases of COVID-19 reached 1,654.
MEXICO CITY -- Mexico has suspended the 45-day period that its asylum agency has to process asylum applications due to the coronavirus.
In a statement, the Interior Ministry said that application materials would still be accepted, but the 45-day clock would not start until the suspension is lifted on April 20. The agency also suspended the requirement that those with active applications sign in weekly at local agency offices.
It was not immediately clear what the impact would be on asylum-seekers other than a more drawn out process for people in a precarious situation. The agency made a similar suspension after the 2017 earthquake when its offices were damaged.
Mexico already faced a significant backlog as the number of asylum applications soared in recent years in large part due to the United States making it more difficult for people to seek asylum there.
Last year, more than 70,000 people applied for asylum in Mexico. In the first two months of this year, more than 12,000 more did, according to agency data.
MADRID -- Spain's Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo, who is 62, has contracted the coronavirus and remains hospitalized to be treated for her respiratory infection.
A statement from the prime minister's office said Wednesday that Calvo's latest diagnosis had turned positive after previous tests during the past two days were deemed inconclusive by doctors.
At least two other members of the Spanish Cabinet are also recovering from the COVID-19 that is caused by the new virus, as well as the wife of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
TORONTO -- Canada announced Wednesday it is imposing mandatory self-isolation for those returning to the country under the Quarantine Act.
Health Minister Patty Hajdu said on Twitter that the government is making it mandatory to better protect Canada's most vulnerable.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the requirement will begin at midnight Wednesday and last for 14 days.
LONDON -- London City Airport, which is widely by business people for short-haul journeys to Europe, will suspend operations for commercial and private flights until the end of April but said it is ready to help out in the coronavirus relief effort.
The airport, which handles around 5.1 million passengers a year, said it has made the decision after a dramatic collapse in demand. It said it could remain open to support emergency flights or the military or other government agencies.
"At this time of national crisis, we stand ready to keep the aerodrome open and to work with the emergency services and government to support the relief effort in any way we can to ensure that people and communities get the vital care they need," CEO Robert Sinclair said.
One potential use could be helping out the nearby 4,000-bed NHS Nightingale Hospital, which will open next week at the Excel Centre. The military is helping in its construction.
London is the hotspot of the pandemic in the U.K.
CANNES, France -- The French Riviera city of Cannes has opened the doors of the site of the city's world-famed film festival to the homeless. Converting the Palais des Festivals into a shelter is aimed at helping those without a roof respect confinement measures in France to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
The ground floor of the Palais des Festivals, home of the annual gathering of stardust and glitter, can hold up to 80 homeless people. There, they can shower, sleep, eat and even keep their dogs in a kennel in a hall. The homeless center opened Friday, and the town hall said that 61 people were present on Tuesday.
Social distancing and sanitary considerations are assured at the center, according to a statement.
The homeless are particularly challenged by the confinement orders, which risk continuing for weeks. Empty streets mean that handouts vital to many homeless people to survive have evaporated.
The Cannes Film Festival originally set for May 12-23 has been postponed.
LOS ANGELES -- Immigrant advocates on Wednesday asked a federal court in Los Angeles to order the Office of Refugee Resettlement to release unaccompanied immigrant children held in government-contracted shelters for more than 30 days to eligible sponsors to help protect them, and the public, from the coronavirus.
Two staff members from such facilities in New York have already tested positive for the virus, and children typically share rooms, participate in required group activities and eat together, advocates said in court papers.
Advocates said about a third of the 3,600 children currently in custody have been there for at least 30 days and want the court to order them released to fitting sponsors who can take them.
"The urgency here cannot be overstated," Leecia Welch, senior director of child welfare and legal advocacy at the National Center for Youth Law. "Without immediate steps to reduce the population of youth in congregate care and strict adherence to social distancing, many ORR facilities could become sites of massive infection."
The Office of Refugee Resettlement declined to comment on the litigation but said in a statement that its priority is to unify children with suitable sponsors as quickly and safely as possible. Facilities that house unaccompanied children are required to check their temperatures twice daily and have received guidance regarding the coronavirus, the statement said.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- World-renowned Dutch flower garden Keukenhof will not open this year after the Dutch government extended its ban on gatherings to June 1 in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
"This means that Keukenhof cannot open in 2020," the popular attraction, which only opens during the flowering season in spring, announced Wednesday.
The garden in the middle of the Dutch bulb fields had been due to open March 21, but that date was canceled due to restrictions that initially were put in place until early April.
"The park is already blooming beautifully and will become even more beautiful in the coming weeks," the garden said in a statement. Instead of opening, it will allow people to virtually visit its colorful floral displays through its social media and online channels.
MOSCOW -- Russia has reported its first deaths from the novel coronavirus infection, two elderly patients who also had underlying conditions.
The commission directing Russia's response to the virus said Wednesday the patients died of pneumonia and were 88 and 73 years old.
Russia has reported 658 cases of infection nationwide. Last week an infected patient died, but doctors said that was due to a blood clot rather than the virus itself.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state has climbed to 3,800, with close to 900 in intensive care.
New York officials are keeping a close eye on already-stressed hospitals as the number of cases is projected to rise for perhaps three more weeks.
Cuomo said Wednesday that as many as 140,000 hospital beds may be needed in a state with 53,000. The state has more than 30,000 confirmed cases and 285 deaths. The nation-high figures are driven mostly by New York City.
By The Associated Press
The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 428,000 people and killed over 19,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems. More than 109,000 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.
TOP OF THE HOUR:
-- Heir to the British throne Prince Charles tests positive for the coronavirus.
-- Putin orders military to help with virus outbreak.
-- Environmentalists say air quality is improving.
HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Zimbabwe's public hospital doctors are going on strike over what they call a lack of adequate protective gear as the coronavirus begins to spread in a country whose health system has almost collapsed.
The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association president, Tawanda Zvakada, says doctors are at "high risk" of contracting the virus: "Right now we are exposed and no one seems to care."
He says doctors have an inadequate stocks of gloves, masks and gowns.
The southern African nation has reported three cases of COVID-19 and recorded its first death this week.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- The Dutch public health institute says the coronavirus has been discovered in sewage in the Netherlands.
The institute says DNA tests confirmed the virus in waste water from the southern city of Tilburg and a nearby town, which are in the hardest-hit Dutch region, as well as from the capital Amsterdam.
It says symptoms of the disease caused by the virus can include diarrhea in some patients and the virus can be detected in human waste of some infected patients.
Dutch sewage workers already wear protective clothing that shield them from the coronavirus.
ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey's foreign minister says at least 32 Turkish nationals have died from the coronavirus abroad, most of them in European countries.
Mevlut Cavusoglu says the government was assisting families wanting to return their loved ones' bodies back home.
He says Turkey overnight flew back 2,721 Turkish students stranded in eight countries, following the cancellation of flights over the outbreak. They are being quarantined in student dormitories in three cities.
Turkey has reported 44 COVID-19 deaths and a total of 1,872 infections.
MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the military to train to help handle the coronavirus outbreak.
The Defense Ministry says the four-day exercise that began Wednesday will check the troops' readiness to deal with contagion. The military will run drills on how to deal with the outbreak at its bases and check the military's ability to quickly deploy its forces across the vast country.
The government has reported 658 cases of the coronavirus in Russia and no deaths. Officials say the low number of cases in Russia compared to Europe could be due to insufficient screening and called for action to brace up for the worst.
VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis has reaffirmed the need to protect all life, rallying Christians around the world to pray together for those sick with the coronavirus and the medical personnel who are caring for them.
Francis presided over a global noontime prayer Wednesday, in which he begged for God's mercy amid the pandemic.
The prayer fell on the 25th anniversary of a landmark Vatican document reaffirming the inviolability of all human life from conception to natural death. Francis dedicated his comments to the document, which strongly reaffirmed church teaching opposing abortion and euthanasia.
Francis says it is imperative to "relaunch this teaching in the context of a pandemic that threatens human life and the global economy."
Some conservative Christian commentators, as well as U.S. President Donald Trump, have warned the consequences of the financial shutdown aimed at preventing the virus' spread and protecting the elderly and sick are worse than the virus itself.
TOKYO -- Japan's foreign ministry says it has raised its travel warning to its people and urged them not to make any non-essential trips outside of the country.
The measures follow similar caution for most of Europe and the U.S. amid the rapid increase in the number of cases in those areas.
Also, the ministry says two employees at its embassy in Washington have contracted the virus and isolated themselves. One has no notable symptoms, while the other has a fever. A Japanese official at Japan's embassy in Macedonia also tested positive for the virus after traveling to Greece to help in the Olympic Flame handover ceremony.
DHAKA, Bangladesh -- Authorities in Bangladesh say another 65-year-old man died of coronavirus and the total death toll rose to five while the total number of cases of infection remained at 39.
Meerjady Sabrina Flora, director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, says the man with diabetes and hypertension tested positive on March 18 and was being treated in a hospital in Dhaka.
She says no new cases of infection were reported over last 24 hours. But experts say Bangladesh is at the high risk of community transmission as hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis, including many expatriate workers, returned home from Italy and other affected countries in recent weeks.
The government is asking the people to stay at home and military soldiers have been called into some big cities to enforce the social distancing
LONDON -- Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, has tested positive for the new coronavirus.
The prince's Clarence House office says the 71-year-old is showing mild symptoms of COVID-19 and is self-isolating at a royal estate in Scotland.
It says his wife Camilla has tested negative.
The palace says Charles "has been displaying mild symptoms but otherwise remains in good health and has been working from home throughout the last few days as usual."
MADRID -- Spain has now the world's second highest tally of coronavirus deaths after a 738 spike was recorded Wednesday, the highest so far in one day. With 3,434, Spain surpassed China's 3,285 and has more than half of Italy's 6,820.
Infections also rose on Wednesday by 20% from a day earlier to 47,610, Spain's Ministry of Health announced. More than 5,000 people have recovered, the ministry said.
The outbreak has hit Spain and put a tragic strain on its healthcare system, especially in the central region around Madrid, with one third of the positive cases and roughly half of the casualties.
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia -- Slovakia's new prime minister said a government plane with badly needed high quality respirators from Turkey has landed early on Wednesday.
Igor Matovic said the 100,000 respirators will be immediately distributed to hospitals across the country.
They will be used by doctors and nurses directly treating patients infected with COVID-19.
"The Slovak health sector has been desperately waiting for them for a month," Matovic said.
Since his four-party coalition government was sworn in on Saturday, Matovic repeatedly criticized the previous Cabinet for a failure to secure protective equipment.
Slovakia has only 216 infected with the coronavirus but has tested only 4,200 people so far. The new government wants to increase the number of people tested daily.
BRUSSELS -- A renowned Belgian university is launching a cross-border study in three European countries to assess the nefarious psychological effects of lockdown measures on individuals.
Researchers from the Louvain university say they want to find out to what extent the quarantine measures imposed to fight the novel coronavirus epidemics have changed people's way of life, and to analyze their impact on mental health.
Fearing a rise in the number of suicides, health sociologist Vincent Louvain said that governments are often overlooking the side effects of the quarantine measures as they try to stop the spreading of the deadly virus.
"Governments are currently putting their energy on managing the epidemic. As a result, other risks are forgotten," he said, insisting that a large part of the population is psychologically fragile and in need of health care. "The situation could deteriorate in terms of mental health".
The survey will analyze data collected in Belgium, France and the Netherlands. It will be piloted by the Louvain university in collaboration with a French institute specialized in health economy and the Antwerp university.
BRUSSELS -- With a soaring infection rate, steadily growing death toll and enforced quarantine, it's hard to see the positive side of the coronavirus, but the European Environment Agency says that air quality is improving.
The EEA said Wednesday that new data confirms "large decreases in air pollutant concentrations -- of nitrogen dioxide concentrations in particular -- largely due to reduced traffic and other activities, especially in major cities under lockdown measures."
Nitrogen dioxide is mainly emitted by road transport, and the agency says levels of the pollutant in northern Italy, the epicenter of the country's coronavirus outbreak, are ranging from 21-47% lower this month than in March 2019.
Similar trends have been seen in other parts of Europe under lockdown. Levels in Barcelona and Madrid in Spain dropped by 40-55% in the week of March 16-22, while NO2 levels in the Portuguese capital Lisbon also dropped 40% over the same week.
The agency notes that air pollution contributes to respiratory and heart disease but that it's not yet clear whether exposure to such gases might worsen the condition of people with COVID-19.
However, EEA chief Hans Bruyninckx insists that crisis measures are not the way to tackle air pollution. "Addressing long-term air quality problems requires ambitious policies and forward-looking investments," he says.
BANGKOK -- Thailand's prime minister says he will take sole charge of the country's battle against COVID-19, warning the outbreak may get much worse.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha's government issued a 16-point order for the national state of emergency set for Thursday until April 30 that forbids most foreigners from entering the country and bans rallies and other gatherings in crowded places.
It does not include a curfew that had been expected as a measure to enforce social distancing and uninfected people are not confined to their homes.
Prayuth declared that strict measures would be taken against anyone violating the regulations and officials who do not carry out their duties.
He emphasized control of information, calling on the mass media not to interview officials who aren't authorized to make announcements and warning that social media users spreading 'fake news' would be strictly dealt with.
The chief of defense forces will be in charge of national security and deal with violations of the law, Prayuth said. Violations are punishable by a prison term of up to two years and a 40,000 baht ($1,220) fine.
MOSCOW -- Russia's prime minister ordered provincial governors Wednesday to move more quickly to ready hospital beds for coronavirus patients as the outbreak has spread across the vast country.
The government reported 658 cases of the new coronavirus in Russia, up from 495 a day before. That marked a significantly bigger daily increase compared to previous day when the number of infections increased by several dozens.
The warning to governors came a day after the mayor of Moscow told Russian President Vladimir Putin that the Russian regions weren't acting energetically enough to prepare for the outbreak. Mayor Sergei Sobyanin warned that the low number of cases in Russia compared to Europe could be explained by insufficient screening and called for quicker action to brace up for the worst.
Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova reported that 112,000 people are currently in self-isolation being monitored for coronavirus after return from abroad. Earlier this month, the government has requested all those who returned from the countries plagued by the outbreak to self-quarantine for two weeks.
RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Tens of thousands of Palestinian workers are expected to return to the occupied West Bank from Israel following orders from the Palestinian Authority.
Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh late Tuesday ordered the workers to return and go into 14-day quarantine, the latest in a series of measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
He says those disregarding the orders will face unspecified legal consequences.
Israel has reported more than 2,000 cases and five deaths. The Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the West Bank, has reported 58 cases.
Israel had allowed 65,000 Palestinian workers to remain in the country during the crisis, but many are expected to return as Israel tightens its own restrictions. Most work in construction, agriculture and manufacturing.
Working in Israel pays much better than in the West Bank, where decades of Israeli military rule has hindered economic development.
TIRANA, Albania - Albania has declared the natural calamity emergency because of the virus.
The government late Tuesday issued the decision at the official gazette saying that the rights are limited "to the level considered necessary to protect the citizens' health." That means that all public gatherings, including demonstrations and strikes are prohibited.
The government authorities have increased rights, including entering people's homes to check for virus cases. People are also obliged to report virus symptoms or cases.
That situation is to continue for an unspecified time "during the period of infection."
As of Tuesday, Albania had 5 deaths and 123 cases.
The country is in a lockdown with all border crossing routes shut, but one flight to Turkey. Schools, cafes, restaurants, gyms and shops are closed, except those offering food items and medicine. Only a limited number of public and private employees can work during an eight-hour time a day while all people may only get out to buy food and medicine.
LONDON -- Britain's Parliament is set to shut down for at least four weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Lawmakers have continued to attend -- though in smaller numbers -- despite the spread of COVID-19, which has reached 8,077 confirmed cases and 422 deaths in the U.K. Visitors have been banned from the Parliament buildings and some staff have been working from home.
With Britons now ordered to stay home and all but essential shops shut, Parliament is expected to shut down once lawmakers have approved an emergency law on Wednesday giving the government more powers to fight the coronavirus.
Lawmakers will vote on a motion suspending Parliament until April 21. They had previously been due to take an Easter break from April 1-20.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said "Parliament has to lead by example, follow the guidelines wherever it can, and ensure that we protect the staff that work in Parliament as well."
JOHANNESBURG -- Coronavirus cases across Africa are now above 2,400, and South Africa has more cases than any other African nation with 709. The continent's most developed country enters lockdown first thing Friday.
BERLIN -- Germany's parliament is meeting to approve an enormous package drawn up by the government to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Lawmakers were to vote Wednesday on a series of measures that will allow the government to offer aid totaling more than 1 trillion euros ($1.1 trillion).
As a precaution, members of parliament were spaced widely apart in Berlin's Reichstag building for the session.
The government is breaking with six years of balanced budgets to borrow what Finance Minister Olaf Scholz called the "gigantic sum" of 156 billion euros to finance the packages and cover an expected shortfall in tax revenue. Parliament's approval is needed to loosen legal limits on running up debt.
Scholz, who is Germany's vice chancellor, presented the package in place of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is in quarantine at home after a doctor who gave her a vaccination tested positive for the coronavirus.
Scholz said that "we as the German government are doing everything necessary and everything possible to cushion the economic and social consequences of managing the crisis."
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Sri Lanka police on Wednesday warned of strict legal action against the people who violate a countrywide curfew.
In a statement, police said those who violate the curfew will be immediately arrested, even without a warrant, and legal action will be taken against them. The statement did not elaborate on the possible punishment.
Within the last 24 hours, police have arrested 420 people who violated the curfew and seized 97 vehicles.
The government has imposed the curfew since Friday (March 20), as the Indian Ocean island nation has been struggling to contain the spreading of the virus. The number of positive cases has now jumped to 101.
Since Friday, police have detained 2,682 persons for violating the curfew and detained 786 vehicles, police said.
Police urged people to stay at home during the curfew, except those who engage in essential services such as health and supply of essential commodities.
The government has asked the pharmacies to be kept open during the curfew and allow people to use their prescription as a curfew pass.
SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea says it plans to provide coronavirus testing materials to the United States in response to President Donald Trump's request for help.
Jeong Eun-kyeong, director of South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the country is willing to send chemical reagents used to extract genetic material during COVID-19 tests, but at a level that doesn't affect its own testing capacity.
She didn't provide a detailed estimate on the size of supplies that could be shipped to the United States.
The office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in earlier said Trump during a telephone conversation between the leaders asked whether South Korea could send medical equipment and supplies to help the United States cope with its outbreaks.
South Korea is pushing an aggressive test-and-quarantine program that some experts say possibly contributed to its lower death toll in comparison with mainland China and hard-hit European nations.
As of Wednesday, South Korea had tested around 358,000 people while reporting 9,137 infections and 126 deaths.
WASHINGTON -- The White House and Senate leaders of both U.S. political parties have struck an agreement on a sweeping $2 trillion measure to aid workers, businesses and a health care system strained by the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak.
Top White House aide Eric Ueland announced the agreement in a Capitol hallway shortly after midnight. The agreement comes after days of often intense haggling and mounting pressure and still needs to be finalized in detailed legislative language.
The unprecedented economic rescue package would give direct payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and provide a $367 billion program for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home.