State department urged Americans to return to their home country as soon as possible. (Photo Credit: Image for representation)
The United States is working aggressively to airlift around 22,000 Americans stranded overseas, many of them in India, due to the coronavirus pandemic, a senior official has said. The US has so far repatriated around 37,000 Americans stranded overseas due to the pandemic and is planning to bring another 22,000 of its citizens, many of whom are in South Asia, especially India, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Ian Brownlee told reporters during a conference call on Friday.
"We have repatriated roughly 37,000 US citizens from over 60 countries on more than 400 flights. It includes over 20,000 Americans repatriated in the past week alone," Brownlee said.
He said the US State Department has approximately 70 flights scheduled in the coming days which should bring back several thousand more US citizens.
"South Asia now has the most US citizens wishing to return. So far the US has brought home almost 1,000 Americans from South Asia and are working aggressively to assist thousands more who have expressed an interest in returning," Brownlee said.
"The total number we're looking at overseas at this point is about 22,000. The greatest number of those certainly the plurality of those are in South and Central Asia, many of them in India, he added.
Brownlee urged Americans to return to their home country as soon as possible.
"For the US citizens contemplating whether or not to come home, the time to act is now. Flights will not continue indefinitely, but we want to do all we can to assist you while we are still able to do so, he said.
More than 60,000 people have died from coronavirus since it was first detected late last year in China.
With more than three lakh confirmed cases of coronavirus infection and over 8,000 fatalities, the US has emerged as the global epicentre of the deadly coronavirus disease to which there has been no cure.