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White House bans travel to the US from coronavirus hotspot Brazil

‘Brazil is experiencing widespread, ongoing person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2’

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

The White House announced a ban on travel to the U.S. from the coronavirus hotspot of Brazil. The Trump administration now bars entry of non-citizens traveling from Brazil. Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the decision was made "to protect our country."

The ban applies to foreign nationals who have been in Brazil in the 14 days before they tried to travel to the United States. Officials said the move would not affect commerce between the two countries.

President Donald Trump released a statement: "I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Federative Republic of Brazil during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that the Federative Republic of Brazil is "experiencing widespread, ongoing person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2."

Brazil has experienced a spike in coronavirus cases over the past few weeks. Brazil is currently the country with the second-most confirmed novel coronavirus cases, with over 360,000, trailing the U.S. that has 1.6 million. Brazil has added over 100,000 new COVID-19 cases in the last week and had 21,472 confirmed COVID-19 cases on last Wednesday alone.

Brazil is far and away Latin America's hardest-hit country when it comes to coronavirus. Peru is the next closest in confirmed cases with over 119,000.

Brazil is far behind the U.S in coronavirus testing, administering over 735,000 compared to the U.S. with 14.6 million tests, so the numbers don't reflect the people who are symptomatic and haven't been tested. Brazil has recorded more than 22,000 deaths, the sixth-most in the world.

Trump had already banned travel from China in late January, and most of Europe in March.

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