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White House bans travel to the U.S. from Brazil while Rio de Janeiro plans to reopen its trade activities

May 25, 2020 | 08:53

The White House has announced a ban on travel to the U.S. from Brazil due to the spread of coronavirus in Latin America’s hardest-hit country. The proclamation bans entry for anyone who has been in Brazil in the last 14 days while Brazil also published an extra edition of the Federal Gazette restricting the entry of foreigners into Brazil for 30 days. 

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White House bans travel to the U.S. from Brazil while Rio de Janeiro plans to reopen its trade activities
President Donald Trump points during a "Rolling to Remember Ceremony," to honor the nation's veterans and POW/MIA, from the Blue Room Balcony of the White House, on May 22, 2020, in Washington

Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany says in a statement Sunday evening that the ban applies to foreign nationals who have been in Brazil in the 14 days before they sought to travel to the United States.

McEnany cast it as a move by President Donald Trump “to protect our country.”

Trump has already banned travel from the United Kingdom, Europe and China, all of which have been hit hard by the virus. Trump had said last week that he was considering imposing similar restrictions on Brazil.

Brazil had reported more than 347,000 COVID-19 cases, second behind the U.S. in the number of infections, according to a Johns Hopkins University count.

Brazil also has recorded more than 22,000 deaths, fifth-most in the world. There have been more than 97,000 U.S. deaths, according to the time.

As per a report on the apnews, Trump had already banned certain travelers from China, Europe, the United Kingdom and Ireland and, to a lesser extent, Iran. He has not moved to ban travel from Russia, which has the world’s third-highest caseload.

The U.S. 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.

White House bans travel to the U.S. from Brazil while Rio de Janeiro plans to reopen its trade activities
Passengers during peak commuting hours in São Paulo, Brazil, this month.Credit...Victor Moriyama for The New York Times

Brazil, the epicentre of the pandemic in Latin America, has now recorded more than 310,000 confirmed cases - but experts say a lack of testing means the real figures are probably much higher.

With its curve of infections and deaths rising sharply, the country of 210 million ranks third in the world in terms of total cases, behind the United States and Russia.

The death toll - the sixth highest in the world - has doubled in just 11 days, according to ministry data.

Despite the worrying spread of the disease, far-right President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday continued his calls to scrap lockdown measures to revive a flagging economy.

But almost all of the country's 27 states are under some sort of lockdown order, though Brazilians are wearying of the restrictions in place since the end of March.

The state of Sao Paulo, the economic and cultural capital of Brazil, is by far the most affected, with about a quarter of the country's deaths and infections.

Hospitals in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and various states across northern and northeastern Brazil are near collapse, the aljazeera said.

The authorities have been racing to set up field hospitals with more beds, but are struggling to build them fast enough.

White House bans travel to the U.S. from Brazil while Rio de Janeiro plans to reopen its trade activities
The state of Sao Paulo is by far the most affected, with about a quarter of the country's deaths and infections [Amanda Perobelli/Reuters]

However, Rio Mayoralty submits plans to reopen city gradually, starting June 1st for commercial activities in Rio de Janeiro to officially resuming. This is at least the intention of the city's Mayor, Marcelo Crivella, who has elaborate plans to reopen trade and is ready to present them to the scientific community.

As an argument for the resumption, the City will use a letter signed by the Rio de Janeiro Hotel Association (ABIH-RJ) and seven other corporate organizations and residents' associations in the region of Barra da Tijuca, in the West Zone, planning to reopen between June 1st and 29th, while limiting access to bars, restaurants, the riotimesonline reported.

Besides, The Brazilian federal government, on Friday, May 20th, published an extra edition of the Federal Gazette restricting the entry of foreigners into Brazil for 30 days as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The entry of foreigners of any nationality is prohibited, whether by land, air, or water transport. The 30 days may be extended upon recommendation of the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), the body advising the restriction.

The restriction does not apply to native or naturalized Brazilians; immigrants who have permanent residence in Brazil; foreign professionals on missions serving international organizations; passengers in international.

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