The Peace Corps is suspending its global operations and evacuating all volunteers as concerns mount about the coronavirus pandemic, the organization said.
In an open letter posted onto the Peace Corps website, director Jody K. Olsen said, “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.”
“Unfortunately, it has become clear in the last 48 hours that numerous posts must follow suit,” she said.
“I want to stress that Headquarters remains open under its own Continuity of Operations Plan, and agency personnel are working 24/7 to support you and our staff overseas,” Olsen continued.
The letter also said that volunteers had already been evacuated from China and Mongolia.
Olsen said the suspension is temporary and: “We are not closing posts, and we will be ready to return to normal operations when conditions permit. Importantly, our host country staff will remain in their current positions.”
The Peace Corps volunteer program has been run by the US Government since 1961 and aims to foster peace and friendship through service abroad.