Roughly 33K Americans Still Can't Get Home

A traveler in Peru says his case 'was comical at first, I was laughing'
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2020 11:00 AM CDT
Roughly 33K Americans Still Can't Get Home
In this photo provided by a passenger who requested to be anonymous, passengers get ready before the doors close on a flight departing from Cusco, Peru, Wednesday, March 25, 2020.   (Courtesy photo via AP)

Some 33,000 Americans are still struggling to get back home amid the growing coronavirus pandemic, NBC News reports. Some 15,440 have already returned, but so many are stuck abroad that some are just planning to stay until the pandemic is over. "In some places, people have decided they're just going to wait it out, wait out the curfew or wait out the quarantine where they are," says Ian Brownlee, head of the State Department's repatriation task force. But the department was "caught off guard by the crisis" as US embassies became "overburdened with the influx of requests" from traveling Americans, Foreign Policy reports.

In one case, traveler Ronald Coleman says he got an email from the US Embassy in Peru including phone numbers from airlines that might fly him out—and one was a phone sex hotline. "I don't know how the State Department screws up that bad, but it was comical at first, I was laughing," he says. "And then I think about it and immediately my confidence dropped in how they’re handling it and how organized they are in handling this effort." On the bright side, USA Today reports that almost 300 Americans stuck in Central America got back home this week to Louisiana, Texas, and Arizona. (More coronavirus stories.)

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