07:12 GMT28 September 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The US Department of State has decided to resume passport services for citizens willing to travel abroad following the lockdown linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

    "As the country begins to reopen, the department is getting our passport team back on the field. In the coming weeks, they will aggressively tackle applications that were put on hold because of the pandemic and provide fast and efficient service for Americans that they rightfully expect", Pompeo told reporters on Wednesday.

    Previously, the United States had significantly restricted foreign trips by its citizens to China, Iran, the Schengen zone, the UK, Brazil, and to some other countries. In addition, 'unnecessary' trips across the land borders with Mexico and Canada were banned.

    On Tuesday, the United States agreed to extend border restrictions with neighbouring Canada, limiting non-essential travel for another 30 days to 21 July amid the ongoing pandemic.

    The US became the worst hit-nation in the world, with over 2.3 million people infected and more than 121,000 fatalities reported.

    The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March. To date, more than 9.13 million people have been infected with the coronavirus worldwide, with nearly 478,000 fatalities, according to the World Health Organization.

    passport, Mike Pompeo, U.S. Department of State, United States
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