The State Department is warning in increasingly serious tones that Americans stuck abroad due to the coronavirus should come forward now, as the agency may soon need to shut off the spigot of repatriation flights to some countries.
During a press conference and in messages to stranded citizens this week, the agency warned that it may soon not be possible for the government to bring Americans home from some places. Commercial airlines are continuing to cancel flights, and more countries could soon close airspace or shut down borders, State officials observed.
“The Department of State is making every effort to assist U.S. citizens overseas who wish to return to the United States,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Ian Brownlee during a briefing with reporters. “But as the Covid-19 situation develops, our ability to provide such assistance, whether working with commercial airlines or arranging for evacuation flights, may become more limited or even unavailable,” he warned.
“There’s no guarantee the Department of State will be able to continue to provide repatriation assistance, and transportation options from many countries to the United States may become unavailable in the future, even in a few weeks’ time,” Brownlee said.
He additionally suggested that some Americans may not be taking the situation seriously.
In Morocco, which was an early target for evacuations, only 50 percent of American citizens who had stated they wanted to leave ultimately came to the airport for State Department-arranged repatriation flights, according to an internal agency document.
The State Department said Wednesday it has now evacuated more than 30,000 citizens from 60 countries on more than 350 flights, but that 24,000 more have indicated that they may seek repatriation.
The increased urgency being broadcast by State has led Americans there to scramble.
People said that police at checkpoints arent letting Americans enter towns or cities unless they have permission from the embassy or Peruvian government, which they say has been difficult to obtain, even now with an apparent deadline approaching.
以越来越严肃的语气警告warning in increasingly serious tones
新闻发布会a press conference
关闭边境shut down borders
尽一切努力去做…making every effort to
提供遣返援助provide repatriation assistance
认真对待这种情况taking the situation seriously
获得…许可have permission from