Donald Trump on Sunday announced another restriction in the relations between the US and Brazil. Due to the rise of the COVID-19 infection in the Latin American country, the White House has limited travel from the world’s coronavirus hotspot. In other words, the US denies entry to foreigners coming from Brazil.
After the US President had already banned certain travellers from China, Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Iran, he added to that blacklist Brazil. Despite such a long list, Trump has not moved to ban travel from Russia, which has the world’s third-highest caseload.
On Sunday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany cast the step announced as another “decisive action to protect our country” by President, whose management of the crisis has come under sharp scrutiny.
In fact, the US leads the world with more than 1.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases and a death toll that is expected to surpass 100,000 later this week, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Last week, Brazil became Latin America’s hardest-hit country. Bolsonaro’s country is second, with more than 347,000 cases and more than 22,000 deaths. Third on the list is Russia, with more than 344,000 reported cases and more than 3,500 deaths.
Commenting on the latest travel ban, McEnany said that action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections “in our country”.
Brazil supports the US’ decision to establish a travel ban
Filipe Martins, Brazilian President’s advisor on international affairs, said the US was treating Brazil as it had other populous countries and suggested the news media were overplaying Trump’s ban.
Data from Brazil’s civil aviation agency shows there has already been a sharp reduction in US-bound flights from the South American country. There were more than 700 flights from Brazil to the US in February of this year, with the number dropping to just 140 in April, two months later.
“By temporarily banning the entry of Brazilians to the US, the American government is following previously established quantitative parameters that naturally reach a country as populous as ours,” Martins tweeted.
“There isn’t anything specifically against Brazil. Ignore the hysteria from the press.”
Bolsonaro has downplayed the coronavirus by repeatedly calling it a “little flu” and insisting that closing businesses and issuing stay-at-home recommendations will ultimately cause more hardship by wrecking the economy.
Last month, the far-right Brazil leader fired his first health minister for going against him and backing restrictions put in place by Brazil’s governors. Jair’s second minister also resigned after openly breaking with Bolsonaro over widespread prescription of the antimalarial drug chloroquine for coronavirus treatment.
Brazil has more than 360,000 cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to health ministry data released Sunday night, meaning it trails only the US in the Johns Hopkins University tally. Experts consider it a vast undercount due to insufficient testing. The ministry reported more than 22,600 deaths.