The Peace Corps program has announced the implantation of evacuations and the suspension of all volunteer activities due to COVID-19 containment efforts.
Director Jody K. Olsen shared an open letter outlining the plans on Sunday, noting that this has been "a very stressful time" for volunteers and their families.
"As you know, we recently evacuated Volunteers from China and Mongolia due to the COVID-19 outbreak and related travel constraints and school closings," Olsen said. "Further evacuations are now under way at several posts. Unfortunately, it has become clear in the last 48 hours that numerous posts must follow suit."
From there, Olsen declared the temporary suspension of "all Peace Corps operations globally" and the evacuation of all volunteers. Olsen also clarified that the evacuations "represent the temporary suspension" of activities, noting that posts are not closed and that the program will be ready for the continuation of operations once "conditions permit" such a possibility.
Over the weekend, it was announced that the first participant in a clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine will receive an experimental dose on Monday. The trial is being funded by the National Institutes of Health, per AP, and will take place at Seattle’s Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute. Health experts have predicted that validation of any potential vaccine will take up to 18 months.