Many US citizens who are based in Lebanon have decided to decline a repatriation offer by their country over coronavirus outbreak, saying that It’s “safer” in Beirut, the CNN reported on Thursday.
In an interview with the American network Carly Fuglei said she thinks that she is “probably safer here,” referring to Lebanon.
Fuglei was with a group of Danish friends in Beirut last month when she first considered moving back to the United States. They were preparing to leave Lebanon amid fears of a major coronavirus outbreak there, and tried to convince her to do the same.
But the 28-year-old humanitarian consultant from Montana decided to stay. After Lebanon closed its borders on March 19 to stem the spread of the global pandemic, she began furnishing her rooftop terrace. Her time in Beirut, she realized, would be indefinite, according to CNN.
“I made that decision for a combination of personal reasons and calculations about the virus that we’re all making,” says Fuglei.
It’s a decision that several US citizens in Beirut who CNN spoke to have echoed, citing skyrocketing cases in the US.
Some Rejected Repatriation Offer on Twitter
When the US government last week said it would fly its citizens and permanent residents to the US on a chartered flight for $2,500 per person, some Americans took to Twitter to publicly decline the offer.
“And no, Mom, I’m not going,” Beirut-based freelance journalist Abby Sewell wrote in a tweet about the US embassy announcement.
Responding to her tweet, a Lebanese journalist said: “For once I’m like no America is not safer than here.” Sewell’s mother, Meg Sewell, replied: “Actually, for the moment I might have to agree.”
Sewell tells CNN she never considered taking the US embassy’s offer.
“From everything I’m reading, the situation is worse in the US, in terms of the number of cases, prevention measures or lack thereof, and how overburdened the health system is,” she says.
“Also, since I’ve been living overseas for years, I don’t have health insurance in the US now, so if I did go back and then got sick, I would be looking at paying thousands of dollars out of pocket.”
US State of Department
On the morning of April 5, the US embassy flew 95 US citizens out of Lebanon, according to a US State Department official. It is estimated that thousands of Americans live in Lebanon — many of whom also hold Lebanese citizenship.
“The Department of State has no greater priority than the safety and security of US citizens overseas,” the official told CNN. “We are rising to meet the historic challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, every day, all over the world.”
When asked about Americans suggesting that Beirut is, for once, safer than the US, the official declined to comment.
Another US Citizen Who Declined the Offer
Daryn Howland, 27, is hunkered down in her Beirut apartment, diving into her work as a consultant. “My plan is to stay here for the indefinite future,” says the Boston native.
“The fact that things are so bad in the US means it’s one of the first times where it’s safer to be in Lebanon than in the US,” Howland also echoes. “Despite the (Lebanese political and economic) situation … I think my odds are better here.”
“All of my American friends here have decided to stay,” she adds.
Source: CNN (edited by Al-Manar English Website)