Peace Corps evacuates workers amid coronavirus threat

Decision made as international travel becomes more challenging by the day

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Peace Corps is telling its volunteers around the world that it is suspending all operations globally and evacuating all volunteers in light of the spread of the new coronavirus.

Continue Reading Below

In an open letter to volunteers posted Sunday on its website, the federal agency's director, Jody Olsen, says the decision follows recent evacuations in China and Mongolia due to the outbreak. Olsen says that with evacuations now underway at other posts and travel becoming more challenging by the day, the agency decided to expand the suspension and evacuations.

An employee in protective gears sprays disinfectant in the wake of coronavirus outbreak inside a train at the Senen train station in Jakarta Indonesia, on March 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

DOW CRATERS OVER 2,800 POINTS AFTER FED TAKES EMERGENCY ACTION TO STEM CORONAVIRUS FALLOUT

“As COVID-19 continues to spread and international travel becomes more and more challenging by the day, we are acting now to safeguard your well-being and prevent a situation where Volunteers are unable to leave their host countries,” Olsen says.

Olsen says the posts are not closing and that the agency looks forward to returning to normal operations when conditions permit.

HOW CORONAVIRUS SPREADS, INFECTS: IMPACT COMES INTO FOCUS

The letter says country directors would be providing more information to volunteers.

Passengers are checking the departures board of the Zuerich Airport in Zuerich, Switzerland, on March 10, 2020. (Alexandra Wey/Keystone via AP)

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST ON CORONAVIRUS

The Peace Corps was established in 1961 during the Kennedy administration as a government-run volunteer program serving nations around the world. Its website says volunteers perform community work in more than 60 countries today and that more than 235,000 Americans have served in 141 countries since its inception.

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE