Senator pushing State Department to bring Americans home amid COVID-19 crisis

Local lawmakers are putting pressure on the State Department to bring home hundreds of Americans who are stuck outside the country because of travel restrictions, border closings and flight cancelations.

In the state of Virginia alone, there are several hundred people stranded abroad in place like Peru, Morocco, Guatemala and China.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 top 1 million worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins

Senator Mark Warner and Senator Tim Kaine have reached out directly to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

They’ve worked safely to bring some home, but Warner says the State Department needs to do more.

DC, Maryland and Virginia coronavirus case totals rise over 4,500

“We’ve helped about 215 get back, we still have over 100 that are still out, one of the countries that has been the biggest challenge – not just for us, but for all Americans – is Peru. They put very tough travel restrictions in a few weeks ago didn’t give people less than 24 hours’ notice,” Warner said.

Warner says he’s alarmed at the number of people abroad who can’t return home to the U.S.

The Senator says he’s spoken with U.S. embassies working around the clock on the problem.

But he believes the state department in Washington needs to more to help.

On a related topic, the Senator said he doesn’t find reports claiming that China lied about its coronavirus numbers surprising.

I never believe what comes out of the Chinese government. I think they were cooking the books and I think that China was irresponsible by now allowing international health experts into to Wuhan in the early days. As a world we’d be further ahead,” he said.

Warner says he’s also pushing for answers from the Trump administration regarding masks, protective equipment ventilators, which aren’t being provided to first responders in the numbers they’ve needed.

The full interview between FOX 5 Capitol Hill reporter Tom Fitzgerald and Senator Warner will air Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on “On the Hill.”