On an unusually quiet Thursday in the nation’s capital, a delegation visiting from several African countries had just reached the top-floor of the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse in Washington when a court official received a call from the State Department.

As countries across the globe imposed travel restrictions in response to the novel coronavirus, there were concerns that the visitors would be indefinitely stranded in the United States if they did not leave soon. Their tour of Washington’s federal trial court would have to be cut short.

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