US President Donald Trump arrives to take part in a joint press conference with Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro in the Rose Garden at the White House on March 19, 2019 in Washington, DC.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump is suspending travel from Brazil to the U.S. as the coronavirus pandemic worsens in Latin America’s largest nation and economy.
The president’s order, published Sunday, denies entry to “all aliens” who were in Brazil two weeks prior to their attempted entry into the United States. The order takes effect May 28 at 11:59 pm ET.
Brazil has rapidly become one of the hardest hit countries in the world as the World Health Organization warns that the epicenter of the pandemic has shifted from Europe and the U.S. to South America.
“We’ve seen many South American countries with increasing numbers of cases and clearly there’s a concern across many of those countries, but certainly the most affected is Brazil at this point,” Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s emergencies program, said Friday during a news briefing at the organization’s Geneva headquarters.
Brazil has more than 347,000 confirmed cases of the virus and at least 22,013 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. At this point only the United States is harder hit in terms of total positive cases.
Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the virus, dismissing it as a “little flu” and attacking stay-at-home orders imposed by governors as a “crime.” He is a close ideological ally of Trump.
Bolsonaro’s own press secretary tested positive for the virus in March after attending a gathering with the Brazilian president and Trump at Mar-a-Lago. The incident raised concern about the health of Bolsonaro and Trump at the time, though both leaders have tested negative for the virus.