USA prepares to evacuate citizens


©️ AS THE deadly coronavirus (Covid-19) sweeps across the globe with confirmed cases in Zimbabwe, Western countries like the United States are preparing to evacuate their citizens who are stuck in the country, the Daily News can report.

This comes as the Zimbabwe government has taken a raft of measures in order to combat the epidemic which has since claimed the life of broadcaster Zororo Makamba, while two other confirmed cases have brought anxiety in the country.

The virus has killed thousands of people around the world and left a trail of human and economic destruction.
This also comes as embassies and companies have been scaling down their operations, including sending staff back to their countries with better medical facilities.

When the threat of coronavirus was imminent, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government last week declared a national disaster and banned public gatherings, as well as the suspension of Independence Day celebrations and cancellation of this year’s edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).

In a notice — the United States said its citizens who have failed to secure commercial flights after several airlines suspended operations owing to the devastating effects of coronavirus — should submit their names so that they can be accounted for and appropriate measures could be taken.

“In response to the increasingly limited commercial options for departing Zimbabwe due to the global impact of Covid-19, the US Embassy is coordinating two flights with a commercial airline to depart Zimbabwe on March 27, 2020, with one flying to Chicago, Illinois and the other to Dulles, Virginia (near Washington DC). A number of seats on these flights will be available to private US citizens.

“If you are contacted, you will have 24 hours to contact the airline and pay for your seats. The Embassy will continue this process of contacting those on the list until all seats are sold out.

“Ensure that your travel documents are valid. If you need to arrange an emergency passport or notarial service, please schedule an appointment,” read the notice in part.

In a separate notice, the US State Department indicated that in cases where there are no commercial flights, its citizens would be evacuated.

“In extreme situations, if there are no commercial transportation options (planes, trains, boats/ferries, etc.) available, and if we have consular officers at the embassy or consulate, and if the conditions permit, we may help US citizens seeking to depart by working with the host government, other countries, and other US government agencies to identify — and in some cases arrange — available transportation.

“Regardless of the method of transportation, or who provides it, US citizens (and others who are eligible for US government assistance) are generally responsible for reimbursing the government for the cost of their travel,” read the statement from the US Department of State.

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