President Donald Trump has imposed a ban on people entering the United States from Brazil, with the Latin American country having the second-highest number of registered coronavirus infections in the world.
The US president made the move as Brazil’s COVID-19 crisis deepens and its death toll rises sharply.
The move suspends entry for anyone trying to come into the US who has been in Brazil during the previous 14 days.
US citizens, permanent residents and spouses of US citizens are among those exempted from the newly introduced condition.
National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said he hoped the ban would only be temporary, in comments to broadcaster CBS, but “we’re going to take every step necessary to protect the American people.”
O’Brien said the White House would look at other Latin American nations on a “country-by-country basis.”
Coronavirus cases have exploded in Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy. The country, which confirmed its first case in late February now has the largest known outbreak after the United States, with more than 347,000 infections and more than 22,000 deaths.
When other countries began taking drastic measures to curb the spread of the virus in February and March, Brazil’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, played down the risks and encouraged public gatherings. In early March, he visited Mr. Trump at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s Florida club, with three aides who later tested positive for coronavirus, setting off alarm throughout the White House.