U.S. imposes travel restrictions on Brazil due to COVID-19
Published: May 25, 2020 07:51 AM

Arrivals walk out of Terminal 1 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, the United States, March 13, 2020. The White House announced on March 14 that the United States is extending Europe travel restrictions to Britain and Ireland due to COVID-19, which will be effective on the midnight of March 16 eastern standard time. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)

 The White House on Sunday announced travel restrictions on Brazil, which has become the nation with the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases.

"Today, the President has taken decisive action to protect our country by suspending the entry of aliens who have been in Brazil during the 14-day period before seeking admittance to the United States," the White House said in a statement.

The statement said the action would "help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country," noting that this measure would not apply to the flow of commerce between the two countries.

The order is effective at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on May 28, according to the White House.

Earlier in the day, National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said in an interview with CBS News, "I think that we'll have a 212(f) decision today with respect to Brazil, and just like we did with the UK and Europe and China, and we hope that'll be temporary."

"But because of the situation in Brazil, we're going to take every step necessary to protect the American people," he added.

When asked if the upcoming travel restriction would also expand to other countries in the Southern Hemisphere, O'Brien said that the United States would "take a look at the other countries on a country-by-country basis."

As of Sunday afternoon, there have been 347,398 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil with over 22,000 deaths, while the United States has more than 1.64 million COVID-19 cases and more than 97,000 people have died of the disease, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The Trump administration has adopted travel restrictions against Canada, Mexico, and European countries, among others. The U.S. State Department's travel advisory remains at Level 4, which instructs its citizens to avoid all international travel amid the global outbreak of the coronavirus.