By Arul Louis
New York, March 31 (IANS) The US government has begun airlifting its citizens stuck Bangladesh because of coronavirus pandemic and is coordinating with India to arrange flights from there for its nationals, according to a State Department official.
The official dealing with consular affairs, Ian Brownlee said on Monday, “We had our first flight – repatriation flight – out of Bangladesh today and are coordinating with the Indian Government to begin flights (from) there.”
Brownlee had said last week that about 1,500 Americans in the New Delhi area, between 600 and 700 in the Mumbai area and 300 to 400 elsewhere had expressed interest in returning home.
Last week the State Department issued a “Level 4” travel alert advising its citizens not to travel internationally and asking those abroad to return home.
“We have thus far brought home over 25,000 Americans from over 50 countries,” Brownlee, a principal deputy assistant secretary said.
“We are tracking over 100 additional flights over the next week, and we have identified an additional 9,000 US citizens who have indicated interest in those flights,” he added.
India is under a lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic with all commercial passenger flights cancelled.
(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)