Story at a glance
- Pompeo warned that the window to bring Americans home from abroad could be closing.
- Pompeo said more than 26,000 U.S. citizens from more than 50 countries have been repatriated back to the U.S.
- The top diplomat said the repatriation task force remains committed to bringing all Americans home.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is urging Americans who are still abroad and wish to return to the United States to do so “immediately,” as commercial and government-chartered flights could soon stop due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Americans who wish to return home from abroad should do so immediately and make arrangements to accomplish that,” Pompeo said during a Tuesday briefing.
Pompeo said his repatriation task force is committed to bringing all U.S. citizens home, but cautioned that the window to do so is becoming more narrow.
“We do not know how long the commercial flights in your countries may continue to operate,” he said. “We can’t guarantee the U.S. government’s ability to arrange charter flights indefinitely where commercial options no longer exist.”
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Pompeo encouraged Americans to register with the nearest embassy or consulate, and said as of Tuesday, more than 26,000 U.S. citizens from more than 50 countries have been repatriated back to the U.S.
“Never in the department’s 230-year history have we led a worldwide evacuation of such enormous geographic complexity and such geographic scale,” Pompeo said. “We have no higher duty to the American people than to pull this off.”
The repatriation task force will continue to bring home thousands of Americans in the coming days and weeks.
More than 190,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the U.S. with more than 4,100 deaths. The country currently leads the world in the number of coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
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