US President Donald Trump on Sunday further limited travel from COVID-19 hotspots by denying entry to foreigners coming from Brazil.
Trump had already banned certain travelers from China, Europe, the UK and Ireland and, to a lesser extent, Iran. He has not moved to ban travel from Russia, which has the world’s third-highest caseload.
Trump had said last week that he was considering limiting travel from Brazil.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that the step announced on Sunday was another “decisive action to protect our country.”
Brazil, now Latin America’s hardest-hit country, is second, with more than 347,000 cases and more than 22,000 deaths. Third on the list is Russia, with more than 344,000 reported cases and more than 3,500 deaths.
The White House did not immediately respond to queries about whether a travel ban would be imposed on Russia.
“Today’s action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country,” McEnany said.
Filipe Martins, who advises Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on international affairs, said that the US was treating Brazil as it had other populous countries and suggested that the news media were overplaying Trump’s ban.
“By temporarily banning the entry of Brazilians to the US, the American government is following previously established quantitative parameters that naturally reach a country as populous as ours,” Martins tweeted. “There isn’t anything specifically against Brazil. Ignore the hysteria from the press.”
Brazil has more than 360,000 cases of COVID-19, according to Brazilian Ministry of Health data released on Sunday, meaning it trails only the US in the Johns Hopkins University tally.
The ministry reported more than 22,600 deaths.
The ban on travel from Brazil is to take effect on Thursday.
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