The US government is offering visas to foreign medical staff as they seek to get help amid the coronavirus pandemic. The US Bureau of Consular Affairs has urged medical professionals to turn to their nearest U.S diplomatic mission so they can arrange a visa appointment.

“We encourage medical professionals seeking work in the U.S. on a work or exchange visitor visa (H or J), particularly those working on #COVID19 issues, to contact the nearest US Embassy/ Consulate for a visa appointment,” they said in a tweet.

International medical practitioners that are already in the US can also seek to extend their visas, VisaGuide.World reports. 

“For those foreign medical professionals already in the United States: J-1 Alien Physicians (medical residents) may consult with their program sponsor, ECFMG, to extend their programs in the United States.  Generally, a J-1 program for a foreign medical resident can be extended one year at a time for up to seven years, “ the US Department of State announced on its official website last week.

The U.S saw a drastic increase in coronavirus infections last week, with the number of reported cases surpassing 142,000, as of March 30. This makes the US the country with the highest number of COVID-19 infections in the world. 

As a result, President Trump has extended social distancing guidance until the end of April. 

Earlier in the month, the American government banned entry to all EU nationals and restricted travel to Europe for a 30-day period. The EU also closed off its external borders, and countries around the globe have imposed their own travel restrictions in a desperate bid to stop the further spread of the coronavirus.

The severe travel restrictions have left tens of thousands of American citizens stranded abroad as flights become cancelled. The US State Department has resorted to working with the Department of Defense to arrange military flights to bring their fellow citizens home.

See a map of worldwide travel restrictions as a result of coronavirus.

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