As the United States marked the Memorial Day weekend, President Trump golfed, some Americans flocked to beaches and the death toll neared 100,000. And in Britain, the prime minister said he would not fire an aide for driving across the country while infected.
The U.S. is barring travel from Brazil.
The Trump administration is banning travel into the United States from Brazil, where the Covid-19 pandemic has been spiking, using the same authority it used earlier to halt certain travel from China and Europe.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said that President Trump was adding Brazil to the list of countries where travel has already been banned, including Europe and China.
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“As of May 23, 2020, Brazil had 310,087 confirmed cases of Covid-19, which is the third highest number of confirmed cases in the world,” Ms. McEnany said in a statement. “Today’s action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country.”
She added that the new travel restrictions did not apply to the flow of commerce between the two countries.
The decision was detailed ina proclamationSunday evening, but had been foreshadowed earlier in the day by Robert O’Brien, the president’s national security adviser.
“Because of the situation in Brazil, we are going to take every step necessary to protect the American people,” Mr. O’Brien said on the CBS program “Face the Nation.”
Coronavirus cases have exploded in Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy. The country, which confirmed its first case in late February now has the largest known outbreak after the United States, with more than 347,000 infections and more than 22,000 deaths.
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When other countries began taking drastic measures to curb the spread of the virus in February and March, Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, played down the risks and encouraged public gatherings. In early March, he visited Mr. Trump at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s Florida club, with three aides who later tested positive for coronavirus, setting off alarm throughout the White House.
Mr. Bolsonaro’s office declined to comment, but his foreign relations adviser said that the ban had been expected and that it was little more than a formality. “Ignore the hysteria of the press,” the adviser, Filipe Martins, said in a Twitter post.
Although as a practical matter air travel has already collapsed during the pandemic, the flight ban imposed by an ally is still a public relations setback for Mr. Bolsonaro, who has seen his ratings slide as the outbreak in Brazil has spun out of control.
Mr. Bolsonaro has repeatedly tried to reap political capital from his ideological affinity with the American president. And he has emulated his American counterpart in policy and in style, promoting the use of an unproven drug against the coronavirus and attacking the news media.
The ban also complicates the outlook for Brazilian airlines, which, like many around the world, are suffering from the collapse in demand.
Officials in Greece have suggested an “air bridge” with other nations that have minor outbreaks. International flights to Athens are to resume June 15, and to the country’s other airports on July 1. But tourists will be admitted only if their home countries meet certain “epidemiological criteria,” officials said.
Britain, still reeling from one of the world’s worst outbreaks, will make international air travelers self-isolate for 14 days as of June 8, but is exempting truck drivers, seasonal farmworkers and medical workers. In a reciprocal move, France will require travelers from Britain to self-isolate for 14 days starting June 8, and air travelers from Spain starting Monday.
Trump tweets and golfs as U.S. coronavirus deaths approach 100,000.
As President Trump’s motorcade pulled into his golf club in Virginia on an overcast Sunday, a small group of protesters waited outside the entrance. One held up a sign.
“I care do U?” it read. “100,000 dead.”
Mr. Trump and his advisers have said that he does, but he has made scant effort to demonstrate it this Memorial Day weekend. He finally ordered flags lowered to half-staff at the White House only after being badgered to do so by his critics and otherwise took no public notice as the American death toll from the coronavirus pandemic approached a staggering 100,000.
While the country neared six digits of death, the president who repeatedly criticized his predecessor for golfing during a crisis spent the weekend on the links for the first time since March. When he was not zipping around on a cart, he was on social media embracing fringe conspiracy theories, amplifying messages from a racist and sexist Twitter account and lobbing playground insults at perceived enemies, including his own former attorney general.
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This was a death toll that Mr. Trump once predicted would never be reached. In late February, he said there were only 15 coronavirus cases in the United States, understating even then the actual number, and declared that “the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.” In the annals of the American presidency, it would be hard to recall a more catastrophically wrong prediction.
A PRESIDENT AND A PANDEMIC
Read Peter Baker, our chief White House correspondent, on Trump’s response to the rising death toll.
Republicans sue Gov. Gavin Newsom over vote-by-mail in California.
California became the latest flash point in the political conflict over mail-in voting on Sunday, with the Republican National Committee suing the Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, over his executive order calling for ballots to be sent to all registered voters for the November election.
The 27-page lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Eastern District of California, contends that the nation’s most populous state is ill-equipped to rapidly shift to a vote-by-mail system and characterizes Mr. Newsom’s May 8 order as hasty.
The National Republican Congressional Committee and California’s Republican Party were also listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which is the latest legal challenge by the G.O.P. of mail-in voting in several states.
President Trump has even threatened to withhold federal grants to Michigan and Nevada if those states send absentee ballots or applications to voters.
Ronna McDaniel, the R.N.C. chairwoman, called Mr. Newsom’s executive order, an “illegal election power grab” Sunday night on Twitter.
25 May 2020
The New York Times
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