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‘Really frustrating:’ State Department sets up website, hotline with Wisconsinites stuck abroad

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BRATISLAVA, Slovakia -- Americans in some other countries have found it nearly impossible to get home as a result of travel restrictions and lockdowns related to the novel coronavirus -- some worried they might run out of money and food.

"It's just been so interesting watching all of this unfold," said Kelly Taylor, a Milwaukee woman who moved to Slovakia in 2018.

Taylor has been working abroad as a CPA auditor.

"The borders closed, airports were closed, all the shops and restaurants," said Taylor. "Everything had shut down."

Kelly Taylor

Kelly Taylor

Kelly Taylor

Kelly Taylor

Living in Europe has brought adventure to Taylor's life, but nothing like this.

"In the past couple of weeks, I've canceled all of my travel plans," said Taylor. "I've spent more time in my apartment than I ever have before."

With no way of returning to the U.S., Taylor's been documenting her experience in a blog.

"Slovakia has suspended all international travel, so the airport is closed right now, and they have suspended all international trains and buses," said Taylor.

Wisconsinites stuck in Peru

While Taylor said she's comfortable staying put in Bratislava -- not so much for a group of Wisconsinites stuck in Peru.

"It's really frustrating because you're living day, by day, by day," said Mark Sprague.

The seven friends in Cusco, Peru hoped they'be be leaving last week, but with the country on lockdown, they said they received little information from the U.S. government.

Wisconsinites stuck in Peru

"We literally walked about two blocks to the plaza, and there were military and police buses that took us to the airport, and we stood outside the airport waiting to be chosen," said Sprague.

Despite their frustration, they said they're trying to stay hopeful they'll return to Wisconsin.

"We really hope to be back home soon," said Maggie Sprague.

Vice President Mike Pence said Sunday the State Department was working around the clock to help the Americans stuck overseas. He listed a phone number (1-888-407-4747) and website for those abroad in need of assistance.

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