As the State Department hustles to get stranded Americans back to the US amid the coronavirus pandemic, a new agency checklist shows the depths to which staffers have gone to reach those grounded citizens.
The checklist, obtained and released by Politico, shows an outline of methods to reach and assist the tens of thousands of Americans desperately trapped outside the nation’s borders as countries across the globe halt flights in an effort to curb the pandemic’s spread.
The outlet reports that the staff used this checklist when helping Americans that were stranded in Morocco. There, US embassy staffers chartered nine flights over a two day window, just before the nation shut down all air travel.
Within days of the travel ban, the Moroccan Tourism Ministry agreed to allow repatriation flights to take place, giving the US a window to quickly return their citizens home.
The US government had faced growing complaints from American citizens left scattered in different parts of Morocco when it announced it would be chartering the planes.
Some of the steps include setting up a new email for citizens who want to fly home, creating a spreadsheet to track potential travelers and using social media to reach as many stranded Americans as possible.
Other steps include creating a call center, having teams work phones to reach travelers as other teams check in passengers at different airports.
The State Department has been scrambling for weeks to get Americans abroad back to the states as the global community has been rocked by the pandemic.
Earlier in March, the department issued a travel advisory instructing Americans not to travel overseas and to return home immediately if they were abroad.
“Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe,” it said at the time.
With Post wires