Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Adds Brazil to Travel Ban List

Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Adds Brazil to Travel Ban List


The U.S. is barring travel from Brazil.

The Trump administration is banning travel into the United States from Brazil, where the Covid-19 pandemic has been spiking, using the same authority it used earlier to halt certain travel from China and Europe.

Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, said that President Trump was adding Brazil to the list of places where travel has already been banned, including Europe and China.

“As of May 23, 2020, Brazil had 310,087 confirmed cases of Covid-19, which is the third highest number of confirmed cases in the world,” Ms. McEnany said in a statement. “Today’s action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country.”

She added that the new travel restrictions did not apply to the flow of commerce between the two countries.

The decision was detailed in a proclamation Sunday evening, but had been foreshadowed earlier in the day by Robert O’Brien, the president’s national security adviser.

“Because of the situation in Brazil, we are going to take every step necessary to protect the American people,” Mr. O’Brien said on the CBS program “Face the Nation.”

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.

Mr. Bolsonaro’s office declined to comment, but his foreign relations adviser said that the ban had been expected and that it was little more than a formality. “Ignore the hysteria of the press,” the adviser, Filipe Martins, said in a Twitter post.

Although as a practical matter air travel has already collapsed during the pandemic, the flight ban imposed by Brazil’s ally is still a public relations setback for Mr. Bolsonaro, who has seen his ratings slide as the outbreak in his country has spun out of control.

Mr. Bolsonaro has repeatedly tried to reap political capital from his ideological affinity with the American president. And he has emulated his American counterpart in policy and in style, promoting the use of an unproven drug against the coronavirus and attacking the news media.

The ban also complicates the outlook for Brazilian airlines, which, like many around the world, are suffering from the collapse in demand.

Officials in Greece have suggested an “air bridge” with other nations that have minor outbreaks. International flights to Athens are to resume June 15, and to the country’s other airports on July 1. But tourists will be admitted only if their home countries meet certain “epidemiological criteria,” officials said.

As President Trump’s motorcade pulled into his golf club in Virginia on an overcast Sunday, a small group of protesters waited outside the entrance. One held up a sign.

“I care do U?” it read. “100,000 dead.”

Mr. Trump and his advisers have said that he does, but he has made scant effort to demonstrate it this Memorial Day weekend. He finally ordered flags lowered to half-staff at the White House only after being badgered to do so by his critics and otherwise took no public notice as the American death toll from the coronavirus pandemic approached a staggering 100,000.

While the country neared six digits of death, the president who repeatedly criticized his predecessor for golfing during a crisis spent the weekend on the links for the first time since March. When he was not zipping around on a cart, he was on social media embracing fringe conspiracy theories, amplifying messages from a racist and sexist Twitter account and lobbing playground insults at perceived enemies, including his own former attorney general.

This was a death toll that Mr. Trump once predicted would never be reached. In late February, he said there were only 15 coronavirus cases in the United States, understating even then the actual number, and declared that “the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.” In the annals of the American presidency, it would be hard to recall a more catastrophically wrong prediction.

The Trump administration’s unsubstantiated claims that the coronavirus pandemic was set off from a Wuhan government laboratory are “pure fabrication,” the head of the lab was quoted as saying in Chinese state media on Sunday.

Wang Yanyi, who leads the Wuhan Institute of Virology, said that the institute first received a sample of the virus at the end of December. By that point, the virus had been circulating in Wuhan, a major travel hub, for weeks.

“We didn’t have any knowledge about the virus before that, nor have we ever met, researched or kept the virus,” Dr. Wang said.

Scientists are still studying how the outbreak first happened. Most of them believe that the virus was passed from bats to humans via an intermediary species, one that was probably sold at a wet market in Wuhan late last year.

On Sunday, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, appeared on “Face the Nation” and “Meet the Press,” accusing Chinese officials of carrying out a cover-up of the Covid-19 outbreak that effectively “unleashed” the virus on the world.

The debate over whether Americans should wear face masks to control coronavirus transmission has been settled. Governments and businesses now require or at least recommend them in many public settings. But as parts of the country reopen, some doctors want you to consider another layer of personal protective equipment in your daily life: clear plastic face shields.

“I wear a face shield every time I enter a store or other building,” said Dr. Eli Perencevich. “Sometimes I also wear a cloth mask, if required by the store’s policy.”

Dr. Perencevich is an infectious disease physician at the University of Iowa and the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Health Care System. In an opinion article published last month in JAMA, he and two colleagues argued that simple clear-plastic face shields could help reduce the transmission of infections.

There has also been no research on how well one person’s face shield protects other people from viral transmission — the concept called source control that is a primary benefit of surgical and cloth masks.

As restaurants and other businesses have closed during the coronavirus pandemic, rats may become more aggressive as they hunt for new sources of food, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned.

Environmental health and rodent control programs may see an increase in service requests related to “unusual or aggressive” rodent behavior, the agency said on its website on Thursday.

“The rats are not becoming aggressive toward people, but toward each other,” Bobby Corrigan, an urban rodentologist who has both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in rodent pest management, said on Sunday. “They’re simply turning on each other.”

“They are going to war with each other, eating each other’s young in some populations and battling each other for the food they can find,” Dr. Corrigan said. “But the rats that live and eat in residential blocks probably haven’t noticed a single bit of difference during the shutdown.”

To keep hungry rodents at bay, the C.D.C. recommended sealing access to homes and businesses, removing debris, keeping garbage in tightly covered bins and removing pet and bird food from yards.

Dr. Corrigan said the C.D.C.’s latest guidance should put homeowners on alert. Whether in rural America or in urban areas, people who don’t ordinarily see rats might start noticing them.

Despite calls for him to oust a top adviser who disobeyed Britain’s stay-at-home order, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is standing by that official, Dominic Cummings, who had fallen ill with the coronavirus.

During a news briefing on Sunday, the prime minister staunchly defended Mr. Cummings for driving in April to visit his parents in Durham, in the north of England. But Mr. Johnson deflected questions about whether he had known of Mr. Cummings’s travels and muddied the details of the lockdown rules.

Mr. Cummings has said there was no other way to get care for his young child after he and his wife began showing symptoms of the virus.

“He followed the instincts of every father and every parent, and I do not mark him down for that,” Mr. Johnson said on Sunday. “I believe that in every respect, he has acted responsibly, and legally, and with integrity.”

Mr. Johnson’s decision to stand by his adviser underlines his deep reliance on Mr. Cummings, who was the architect of his election victory last year and the driving force behind his ambitious post-Brexit agenda. But it is unlikely to defuse the uproar over Mr. Cummings’s actions, which critics say send a signal that Britain’s leaders can ignore the rules they impose on others.

The opposition Labour Party called for an inquiry into Mr. Cummings’s conduct and accused Mr. Johnson of double standards.

“It is an insult to sacrifices made by the British people that Boris Johnson has chosen to take no action against Dominic Cummings,” the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, said in a statement. “The public will be forgiven for thinking there is one rule for the prime minister’s closest adviser and another for the British people.”

Reporting was contributed by Joshua Barone, Mariel Padilla, Michael Paulson, Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Knvul Sheikh, Ben Sisario, Michael Wilson and Zachary Woolfe.



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