Brazil, the world’s No. 2 coronavirus hotspot behind the United States, registered 653 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday, taking the total number of fatalities to 22,666, the Health Ministry said.
Brazil has 363,211 confirmed cases, up 15,813 from Saturday, the ministry said. The United States has more than 1.6 million cases and nearly 100,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally based on official reports.
The White House on Sunday said it was restricting travel from Brazil to the United States, two days after the South American nation became the world’s No. 2 hotspot for coronavirus cases.
The travel ban was a blow to right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has followed the example of US President Donald Trump in addressing the pandemic, fighting calls for social distancing and touting unproven drugs. The Brazilian president’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
“The US maintains a strong partnership with Brazil and we work closely to mitigate the socioeconomic and health impacts of COVID-19 in Brazil,” the US Embassy in Brasilia said in a statement.
The new restrictions come into force on May 28, the embassy said, prohibiting most non-US citizens from traveling to the United States if they have been in Brazil in the last two weeks. Green card holders, close relatives of US citizens and flight crew members, among select others, would be exempt.
Brazil’s foreign ministry called it a technical decision in the context of “important bilateral collaboration” to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting US donations of $6.5 million and a new White House promise of 1,000 respirators.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the new restrictions would help ensure foreign nationals do not bring additional infections to the United States, but would not apply to the flow of commerce between the two countries.
Brazil’s death toll, which often slows over the weekend due to reporting delays, rose by 653 confirmed fatalities on Sunday to 22,666 dead in total, well behind nearly 100,000 US deaths.