U.S. President Donald Trump said he’s considering banning travel from Brazil as the country continues to break daily records in reported coronavirus cases and deaths.
Speaking to reporters at a cabinet meeting Tuesday, Trump said the U.S. is helping Brazil by supplying ventilators, but expressed concern over its rising numbers, which have surpassed 270,000 cases while closing in on 18,000 deaths.
“Brazil is having some trouble, no question about it,” Trump said.
“I don’t want people coming over here and infecting our people. I don’t want people over there sick either.”
Trump has used travel bans to try and limit the spread of COVID-19 to the U.S. before. He halted most travel from China at the end of January, and severely limited flights from Europe in March as the pandemic enveloped the continent.
The outbreaks in both eastern Asia and Europe have mostly slowed, however, while Latin America, South Asia and Russia have emerged as the newest hotspots.
Brazil‘s daily death toll from the new coronavirus jumped to a record 1,179 on Tuesday, erasing a previous record of 881 deaths over 24 hours announced on May 12. Overall, 17,983 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Brazil overtook Britain on Monday to become the country with the third-highest number of confirmed infections, behind the U.S. and Russia. Brazil‘s confirmed cases also jumped by a record 17,408 on Tuesday, for a total of 271,885 people who have tested positive for the virus.
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President Jair Bolsonaro, an ideological ally of Trump, has been criticized for his handling of the outbreak, including his opposition to restrictions on movement he sees as too damaging to the economy.
Bolsonaro has joined protests against local governments that have ignored his orders for the economy to reopen, despite a majority of residents supporting the quarantines that are in place.
A poll last week showed two-thirds of Brazilians agree with the need for social distancing to contain the outbreak, which governors and health experts recommend, while Bolsonaro tries to open gyms, hair salons and other businesses.