Secretary of State Mike Pompeo orders Americans to return home ‘immediately’ because of COVID-19, who says he cannot guarantee charter flights once commercial aircraft stop working
- Pompeo says “not knowing how long commercial flights will last” and urged Americans to return home immediately
- The State Department has already helped repatriate 26,000 Americans from countries with limited commercial opportunities
- About 30,000 U.S. citizens are still trying to get home amid the coronavirus pandemic
- However, 10 million Americans live abroad and a large majority have chosen to stay in their adopted countries
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has ordered Americans to return to the United States because the flights may soon be halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We don’t know how long commercial flights will last,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington, DC on Tuesday.
“And we cannot guarantee that the US government will be able to arrange charter flights once indefinitely [those] commercial options no longer exist ‘.
Pompeo told Americans to “immediately” find an available flight or contact their local embassy for more information about travel plans.
About 10 million American citizens live abroad, and most do not want to return home during the crisis, as they have settled their lives in new countries.
However, the government stressed last week that all Americans abroad should consider whether they would like to stay abroad indefinitely.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has ordered Americans to return to the United States, saying flights may be halted soon due to the coronavirus pandemic
Travelers are waiting for a charter flight coordinated by the U.S. Embassy at La Aurora Airport in Guatemala City last Tuesday. They are among the 26,000 Americans repatriated by the United States government
Meanwhile, the State Department has already repatriated U.S. citizens traveling abroad, where commercial opportunities are severely limited.
Pomeo said on Tuesday that the State Department has helped bring home more than 26,000 civilians since the COVID-19 outbreak gripped the world.
“Never in the department’s 230-year history have we led to a global evacuation of such geographic complexity and scale,” he said.
The state secretary added that his ministry has set up a “24/7 repatriation team” that works closely with other agencies and the federal government.
“We have no higher duty to the American people than to get this done,” Pompeo said, adding that the task force would “continue bringing thousands of people home over the next few days and weeks.”
Travelers are waiting for a charter flight coordinated by the U.S. Embassy at La Aurora Airport in Guatemala City last Tuesday
Many Americans have found it difficult to return to the US during the coronavirus outbreak as commercial airlines have canceled thousands of flights
According to a report by NPR, about 30,000 Americans are still trying to get home.
“We are still working to connect people to commercial options where those flights are available and to charter flights where they are not,” Ian Brownlee, who leads the State Department repatriation team, told the radio network.
“This is quite complex contract work. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ ability to do this is under pressure. We are talking to the Department of Defense if they can essentially help us set up aircraft, ”he added.
NPR reported that flights from Morocco, Spain, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, Kenya, and Israel are all “in line.”
U.S. citizens wearing protective masks were stranded during the shutdown during the Corona virus outbreak at Tribhuvan International Airport. United States has repatriated its citizens left in different parts of Nepal due to nationwide blockade forced to curb coronavirus spread