The State Department has helped more than 15,000 U.S. citizens get home from abroad since the coronavirus outbreak – but about 33,000 Americans are still struggling to return, officials said Friday.
About 15,440 U.S. citizens from more than 40 countries have been repatriated, and the State Department’s call center has fielded more than 11,000 inquiries since March 21, according to Ian Brownlee, who heads the department’s repatriation task force.
Still, more than 33,000 Americans are abroad and trying to get home, Brownlee said.
Earlier this week, the State Department said 50,000 were stuck overseas but that number might have been an overstatement because of clerical errors, according to Brownlee.
Some Americans overseas have said they’re going to ride out the pandemic aboard.
“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,” Bownlee said.
The greatest demand for assistance in getting home remains in Central and South America, but the State Department is seeing increased requests in Africa and India.
There are 1,500 Americans in the New Delhi area seeking help to get home. They are among the 3,000 to 4,000 stranded U.S. citizens across India.
“We continue to work with the U.S. Department of State and airlines to arrange flights from India to the United States for U.S. citizens and are making progress with possible commercial and/or charter flights,” a message from the U.S. Embassy in New Dehli read Friday.
“We will endeavor to provide several days’ notice as flights become available, but American citizens seeking to depart should be prepared in case there is less notice.”