WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump issued a proclamation Sunday banning individuals who have been in Brazil within 14 days before attempting to enter the USA in the latest travel restrictions aimed at containing the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
The president, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security, said Brazil was the latest country to face travel restrictions amid a surge in cases of COVID-19, according to the order. The order will take effect Thursday at 11:59 p.m. EDT.
Brazil is among the hardest hit countries in the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 363,000 cases and more than 22,500, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The country is second only to the USA in terms of total positive cases.Brazil surpassed Russia, which has more than 353,000 cases of the coronavirus.
"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," White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement.
The new restrictions "do not apply to the flow of commerce between the United States and Brazil," she said.
Earlier Sunday, national security adviser Robert O'Brien signaled the Trump administration would announce restrictions on Brazil.
"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 told CBS' "Face the Nation," adding that further travel restrictions for South America would be determined on a "country-by-country basis."
O'Brien said Brazil was having a "rough go of it," and the administration deployed ventilators to Brazil and Russia.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly dismissed the pandemic, likening the virus to "a little flu" and urging the country's governors to lift stay-at-home orders and reopen for business.
Bolsonaro's communication secretary tested positive for COVID-19 in March, five days after they attended a gathering at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Bolsonaro and Trump tested negative for the virus.
All foreign nationals from China, Iran and certain European countries are barred from entering the country. This ban includes anyone who visited these countries within 14 days before their U.S. trip.
The targeted European countries include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
The U.S. border with Canada and Mexico will remain closed until June 22. The Department of Homeland Security extended border closures to nonessential travel this month, citing concerns over the spread of COVID-19.