Mike Pompeo urges Americans abroad wanting to return home to 'do so immediately'

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is making his advice to U.S. citizens still overseas during the coronavirus crisis simple: "Americans who wish to return home from abroad should so immediately and make arrangements to accomplish that," he stressed during a Tuesday briefing.

While Pompeo said his repatriation task force remains committed to bringing all Americans home, he said the window to do so is closing.

"We do not know how long the commercial flights in your countries may continue to operate," he said as airlines have already slashed international service. "We can't guarantee the U.S. government's ability to arrange charter flights indefinitely where commercial options no longer exist."

President Donald Trump touted the State Department's efforts to bring stranded Americans home during the White House coronavirus briefing on Tuesday, calling it one of the largest and most complex evacuations in U.S. history. 

He said the State Department has repatriated 25,000 Americans from more than 50 countries "where they were literally stuck in some cases, locked in."

"Almost everybody's out now, back home with their parents" or other family members Trump said. 

The State Department said on Monday that officials were working to bring another 9,000 Americans still stranded abroad back to the U.S. 

Pompeo urged Americans to register with their nearest embassy or consulate or do so online via STEP, the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which provides citizens with safety alerts about local conditions and a communication link to their families back home. 

"Never in the department's 230-year history have we led a worldwide evacuation of such enormous geographic complexity and scale," Pompeo told reporters at the State Department headquarters in Washington. "We have no higher duty to the American people than to pull this off."

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Contributing: Deirdre Shesgreen