US airmen retrieve coronavirus swabs from Italy to ramp up testing

The Air National Guard flew back 500,000 tests for distribution

The Air National Guard flew 500,000 coronavirus testing swabs aboard a C-17 Globemaster III from Aviano Air Base in Italy, to Memphis Air National Guard Base in Tennessee.

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The swabs were loaded onto FedEx planes to be distributed throughout the United States by the federal Department of Health and Human Services.

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"Through its Active, Reserve, and Air National Guard components, Air Mobility Command stands ready to do everything possible to mitigate the effects of COVID19 and ensure we continue executing rapid global mobility operations," an Air Mobility Command spokesperson told FOX Business.

Italy, which has more than 35,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, is essentially on lockdown after being hit hard by the novel coronavirus.

The swabs will help the U.S. doctors scale up their testing after delays in getting testing kits out to public health labs.

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