SCARY MILE­STONE Amer­ica, the worst-hit na­tion, ap­proaches a Covid-19 death toll of 100,000

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - FRONT PAGE - Yash­want Raj yash­want.raj@hin­dus­tan­ n

WASHINGTON: The US govern­ment on Sunday banned the en­try of trav­ellers from Brazil, cit­ing wide­spread trans­mis­sion of the coro­n­avirus in the South Amer­i­can coun­try and the po­ten­tial threat of im­ported in­fec­tions.

The travel ban came as the death toll in the US from Covid-19 inched to­wards 100,000, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial fig­ures.

The de­ci­sion comes into ef­fect on Fri­day and ap­plies to immigrants and non-immigrants from Brazil, same as ear­lier or­ders ban­ning trav­ellers from China, Iran, the Schen­gen area, the UK and Ire­land.

Cit­ing the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO), which the US has threat­ened to stop fund­ing if it stops grav­i­tat­ing to­wards China, the White House said in an of­fi­cial procla­ma­tion that Brazil is cur­rently No 3 in the world in terms of the num­ber of con­firmed Covid-19 in­fec­tions - at 310,087 be­hind the US and Rus­sia. Brazil is, how­ever, at No 2 with 363,211 cases, ac­cord­ing to the Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity Covid-19 tracker, trail­ing only the United States.

High­light­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of in­fected peo­ple from Brazil en­ter­ing the US un­de­tected, Amer­i­can Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said in the procla­ma­tion is­sued un­der his name and seal that en­try for Brazil­ians to the US “threat­ens the se­cu­rity of our trans­porta­tion sys­tem and in­fra­struc­ture and the na­tional se­cu­rity”.

Trump has touted his ban on trav­ellers from China, ef­fec­tive on Fe­bru­ary 2, as the lynch­pin of his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s re­sponse to the out­break, even as he con­tin­ues to be ac­cused of a de­layed and botched re­sponse to the cri­sis.

US fa­tal­i­ties from Covid-19 on Mon­day morn­ing stood at 97,722, just short of the 100,000-mark, up by 633 deaths over the past 24 hours. Cases went up by 20,634 over the same pe­riod to 1.66mn.

Trump, who has called him­self a cheer­leader for keep­ing up the spir­its of Amer­i­cans. “Cases, num­bers and deaths are go­ing down all over the coun­try!” he tweeted on Sunday morn­ing.

Mean­while, Robert O’Brien, the US na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, told NBC that China “un­leashed a virus on the world that’s de­stroyed trillions of dol­lars in Amer­i­can eco­nomic wealth”.

“The cover-up that they (China) did is go­ing to go down in his­tory along with Ch­er­nobyl,” he said, re­fer­ring to the world’s worst nu­clear dis­as­ter at a nu­clear plant in erst­while Soviet Union’s Ukraine in 1986.


Demon­stra­tors in Brasilia openly flout so­cial dis­tanc­ing rules and take part in a huge mo­tor­cade to show sol­i­dar­ity with Brazil­ian Pres­i­dent Jair Bol­sonaro, who isn’t in favour of curbs.

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