Coronavirus: Trump bans travel from Brazil after it becomes Covid-19 hotspot

US president and Brazi's right-wing leader considered allies

Andrew Buncombe
Seattle
Sunday 24 May 2020 18:38
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Coronavirus in numbers

Donald Trump has issued an order to restrict travel to Brazil, as the South American nation has emerged as the latest coronavirus hotspots.

As the number of cases of infection in Brazils passed 350,000 – second only to the US – Mr Trump said he was preventing foreign citizens entering the US if they had visited that nation in the last two weeks.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the new restrictions would help ensure foreign nationals did not bring additional infections to the US, but would not apply to the flow of commerce between the new countries.

Mr Trump has already banned travel from the United Kingdom, Europe and China. He said last week that he was considering similar restrictions for Brazil, with whose leader, Jair Bolsonaro, he has developed a close friendship.

Mr Bolsonaro was at Mr Trump’s Florida estate on the weekend 8 March. The Brazilian leader’s press secretary later tested positive for the virus.

Several White House employees who had been in contact with the press aide went into quarantine afterwards but none tested positive.

Mr Bolsonaro has been widely criticised for his handling of the pandemic. For months he suggested social distancing measures were not required and underplayed the threat the virus posed.

Earlier this month, the nation’s health minister quit after just a month in the job.

Nelson Teich had criticised a decree issued by Mr Bolsonaro that had allowed gyms and beauty parlours to reopen. In doing so, he becomes the second health minister to leave the post.

Luiz Henrique Mandetta was fired in April after Mr Bolsonaro criticised him when he asked people to observe social distancing and remain in their homes.

Additional reporting by agencies

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