CITING WHO FIGURE, US BANS ENTRY OF PEOPLE FROM BRAZIL
SCARY MILESTONE America, the worst-hit nation, approaches a Covid-19 death toll of 100,000
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.