Feds working to bring home Americans stranded abroad amid coronavirus pandemic

Washington D.C. Bureau

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – With the coronavirus bringing international travel to a halt, thousands of Americans have been stranded outside the United States.

“This is Secretary Pompeo’s highest priority,” State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said Thursday.

Ortagus said they have brought back over 10,000 Americans to the U.S. since the pandemic began impacting travel.

As of Wednesday, 45,000 are still searching for a way home.

“It’s going to be a logistical challenge for us but we’re going to continue to work until we have as many Americans as we can home,” Ortagus said.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill said they are working with the State Department to rescue their constituents

“Their country needs to be there for them now,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) said.

The Maryland senator said many Americans studying or working abroad simply got stuck as the pandemic spread.

Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) said a group from his state was stuck in Peru for a week but he said the State Department managed to help them get home.

“It’s my understanding that they are either on their way home or got home,” Jones said.

The State Department said if you or a family member needs help getting home, go to step.state.gov and sign in to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

“You’ll have to check in with your local embassy – that’s where you’re going to get the information on the ground about charter flights,” Ortagus added.

So far, the State Department has repatriated Americans from 28 countries around the world.

And every day more sign up for help finding their way home.

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