US limits travel from Brazil amid worsening coronavirus outbreak

Source:Reuters Published: 2020/5/25 17:38:40

Statues of the Monumento das Bandeiras wear face masks in Sao Paulo, Brazil as a warning to the public of COVID-19 as the country surges as the epicenter of the pandemic in Latin America. As of Tuesday when the photo was taken, there have been more than 11,500 virus deaths in Brazil. Photo: AFP

The White House on Sunday said it was restricting travel from Brazil to the US, two days after the South American nation became the world's No.2 hot spot for coronavirus cases.

The travel ban was a blow to right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has followed the example of US President Donald Trump in addressing the pandemic, fighting calls for social distancing and touting unproven drugs. The Brazilian president's office did not respond to a request for comment.

"The US maintains a strong partnership with Brazil and we work closely to mitigate the socioeconomic and health impacts of COVID-19 in Brazil," the US Embassy in Brasilia said in a statement.

The new restrictions come into force on Thursday, the embassy said, prohibiting most non-US citizens from traveling to the US if they have been in Brazil in the last two weeks.

Green card holders, close relatives of US citizens and flight crew members, among select others, would be exempt.

Brazil's foreign ministry called it a technical decision in the context of "important bilateral collaboration" to fight COVID-19, highlighting US donations of $6.5 million and a new White House promise of 1,000 respirators.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the new restrictions would help ensure foreign nationals do not bring additional infections to the US, but would not apply to the flow of commerce between the two countries.

National security adviser Robert O'Brien earlier on Sunday told CBS' "Face the Nation" he hoped the move could be reconsidered at some point.



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