Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro appeared to play down concerns around the U.S.’s new travel restrictions on Brazil on Sunday, as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the South American country soared past 360,000.
COVID-19 cases in Brazil have risen exponentially in the wake of the country’s initial outbreak, with the South American nation now having the second highest number of cases globally.
As of May 1, Brazil had logged more than 92,000 coronavirus cases, according to an online tracker maintained by the Johns Hopkins University. In the weeks since, however, that number has nearly quadrupled, with 363,211 cases confirmed as of Monday and with 22,666 cases resulting in death, according to the online tracker.
In response to the growing crisis in the South American country, the U.S., which still has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world, has announced strict travel restrictions barring entry to foreign nationals who have been in Brazil within 14 days of seeking entry into the U.S.
The new travel restrictions, which are expected to take affect on May 28, will not apply to U.S. citizens or to most immediate family members of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents. It also will not apply to certain categories of individual visa holders identified in the new proclamation.
In a statement on Sunday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the measure would “help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country.”
The travel ban, McEnany said, will not impact bilateral trade.