PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Senator Ron Wyden released a statement on Saturday in response to the Oregonians, and other Americans, who were stranded abroad in Peru amid the coronavirus crisis.
Wyden’s office said he has amplified the concerns he has heard from those travelers and has taken their issues to State Department leadership. According to his office, Wyden was told that a task force has been assembled and is “working to extract all Americans overseas.”
“He remains determined to make sure this task force translates into action that gives all Americans trying to leave Peru, and any and all other countries, clear guidance and urgently needed assistance to bring them home,” Wyden’s office said in a statement on his behalf.
Peru confirmed its first case of the virus on March 6. On March 15, Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra declared an emergency, ordering the country’s borders closed and for Peruvians to stay home. The state of emergency was put into effect for 15 days. Americans visiting the country were ordered to stay in their hotel rooms, according to a report by the Associated Press.
North of Peru in Central America, a Vancouver, Washington family was faced with similar obstacles when it came to getting home from Guatemala. The Jamison Family took a cruise on March 5 on the Panama Canal. Due to a medical complication, Jim Jamison had to be hospitalized in Guatemala. While most of the group on the cruise ship returned home, Jim, and his wife Mary Lynn, stayed behind to wait for medical transport.
But now the border is closed— a day after Peru closed its borders, Guatemala followed suit.
The family told KOIN 6 News they have reached out to several local and state leaders. On Friday, the office of Washington Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler told the family they will communicate with the local consulate on their behalf.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that he is working to bring home Americans stranded in countries around the world with little or no warning as nations closed their borders to stop the spread of the virus.
This article was written with contributions from the Associated Press.