In a statement made on Sunday evening, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced that the White House was banning non-citizens coming from Brazil from entering the United States, The Associated Press reported. McEnany stated that the travel ban applies to non-citizens who have been in Brazil within 14 days of the time they want to travel to the U.S. The press secretary positioned the ban as a measure to protect U.S. citizens from one of the world’s newest coronavirus hot spots.
“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.
According to The Associated Press, the travel ban will begin on Thursday. Permanent, legal U.S. residents as well as their relatives — a spouse, child, or parent — will be exempt from the ban. The White House also stated that the ban would not apply to travel for the purposes of trade between the U.S. and Brazil.
President Donald Trump has been considering banning non-citizens coming from Brazil since Tuesday, Reuters reported.
“I don’t want people coming over here and infecting our people,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday.
“I don’t want people over there sick either. We’re helping Brazil with ventilators…. Brazil is having some trouble, no question about it.”
— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) May 24, 2020
On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that South America had become “a new epicenter” of the coronavirus pandemic, largely because of the outbreaks Brazil. When WHO made that statement just two days ago, Brazil was in third place for the most coronavirus infections in the world, behind the U.S. and Russia. The number of coronavirus cases in Brazil was approaching 300,000 on Friday.
According to The Associated Press, by Sunday, Brazil’s coronavirus case count had surpassed Russia’s case count, putting Brazil in second place for the most coronavirus cases in the world. Their case count jumped to more than 347,000 in just two days. More than 22,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Brazil, which is the fifth-highest number of deaths in the world.
Filipe Martins, an advisor to the Brazilian president, said in a tweet on Sunday that the U.S. was “following previously established quantitative parameters,” by imposing the travel ban, The Associated Press reported.
The U.S. has already instituted travel bans for other countries with severe coronavirus outbreaks. When the outbreak began back in January, President Trump banned travel to the U.S. from China, where the pandemic began. Trump banned travel from Europe in March when countries like Italy and France became epicenters for the coronavirus pandemic.