U.S. embassies in Latin America and the Caribbean have attempted to reach out to stranded Americans who want to come back home amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Miami Herald reports. One State Department official told the newspaper they were tracking 13,500 Americans who were “seeking assistance” to come back to the U.S. after universities—like Boston University—have had to charter their own flights to repatriate students studying abroad. According to The New York Times, about 2,000 Americans involved in State Department programs have been stranded and clusters of university students still remain abroad.
If commercial flights are not available, the government said it was willing to use Department of Homeland Security deportation flights to bring Americans home from Central America. The State Department also said it would be chartering 16 flights globally to bring 1,500 home over the next week. However, some travelers claim told the Times they have not heard any word from the government and the U.S. was threatening to cancel passports if they didn’t set up a loan repayment plan for their flight back home. This comes after numerous countries, like Guatemala, have closed their borders in response to the pandemic and after the U.S. issued a global Level 4 travel warning against Americans traveling abroad.