The US government has advised citizens abroad to make quick arrangements to fly back to the country, failure to which they risk getting stuck due to the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, State Department officials said the government is presently able to help citizens abroad to return home and urged them to take advantage of the chance. The officials warned US citizens who fail to return now to prepare to shelter in place indefinitely.
"We do not know how long commercial flights will remain available, nor do we know how long the US government will be able to facilitate additional flights, where commercial options no longer exist," said Ian Brownlee, the State Department's principal deputy secretary in the Bureau of Consular Affairs.
He added: "It is therefore imperative that US citizens make plans now to avail themselves of these options."
Brownlee divulged that the department has so far facilitated the return of over 25,000 Americans from more than 50 countries. He added that 100 more flights have been set aside next week to evacuate over 9,000 citizens who have reached out for help.
“We are seeing more US citizens decide to stay abroad and ride out this crisis where they are. If people decide not to take advantage of these flights now, they will also need to hunker down where they are," said Brownlee.
"Our consular officers at home and abroad are working around the clock to bring home as many Americans as possible," he added.