FOX NEWS - The White House on Sunday announced that the U.S. would bar entry of non-citizens traveling from Brazil, which has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in previous weeks.
The Trump administration “has determined that the Federative Republic of Brazil is experiencing widespread, ongoing person-to-person transmission” of the virus, according to a White House statement. Brazil reported over 347,000 COVID-19 cases as of Friday, second behind the U.S. in the number of infections, according to a Johns Hopkins University count.
Brazil also has recorded over 22,000 deaths, which would make it the fifth-most in the world. There have been more than 96,000 U.S. deaths reported.
The new restrictions would apply to any non-citizens who had been in Brazil for up to 14 days before trying to enter the U.S., officials said, adding that the move would not affect commerce between the two nations.
President Trump added in the statement: “I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Federative Republic of Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.”
Trump already has banned travel from the United Kingdom, Europe and China, all of which have been hit hard by the virus. This past Wednesday, Trump said he had been considering restrictions to travel from Brazil.
National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said the U.S. wanted to take “every step necessary” to protect the American people.
O’Brien said Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that he expected any ban would be temporary.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany added in a statement: “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.” She continued, “Today’s action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country.”
South America has been seen as a new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the World Health Organization. Last week, Brazil overtook Spain and Italy in total confirmed cases.
Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro has faced criticism for weeks, with activists saying he has flat-out refused to deal with the pandemic. Bolsonaro has focused much of his work on reopening the country’s economy.