NSA chief Robert O'Brien says administration is looking at cutting off travel from Brazil amid coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 9:08 AM, May 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-24 11:08:30-04

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said Sunday the Trump administration is looking at restricting travel from Brazil. There has been a surge in COVID-19 infections in Brazil, with the country surpassing Russia with the second-highest number of confirmed cases.

O'Brien said on "Face the Nation" he believes there will be a decision Sunday regarding the suspension of entry for travelers arriving in the U.S. from Brazil.

"We hope that'll be temporary, but because of the situation in Brazil, we're going to take every step necessary to protect the American people," O'Brien said.

He added that while the Trump administration is currently looking at cutting off travel from Brazil, it will look at restrictions for other countries in the Southern Hemisphere "on a country-by-country basis."
In January, before the coronavirus began to rapidly spread within the U.S., Mr. Trump suspended entry of most travelers from China, where the outbreak originated. In early March, Mr. Trump imposed travel restrictions on those coming from Europe as cases surged there.

Now, while the number of coronavirus cases in major European cities are dropping, Brazil and Russia have experienced a spike. According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, Brazil has more than 347,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, followed by Russia with more than 344,000. Both countries have fewer cases than the U.S., which currently has the most of any other country with more than 1.6 million.

O'Brien said the people of Brazil are having a "rough go of it," and said the U.S. would be sending ventilators there and to Russia as well.

While the death toll from the coronavirus in the U.S. nears 100,000, leaders of all 50 states have begun to ease restrictions put in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Mr. Trump, too, has indicated he is eager for a return to normalcy and suggested last week he would move forward with the G7 summit next month in Washington.

The gathering of world leaders was supposed to be held at Camp David in early June, but was changed to a virtual summit because of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday, the president said the meeting would "probably" take place at the White House, with "maybe a little combination of Camp David."

O'Brien said the Trump administration believes the G7 summit of world leaders will take place in person but is likely to occur at the end of June due to the logistics of the event.

"We'll make sure everybody's tested. We'll make sure that it's a safe environment if the leaders can come here," he said.

O'Brien added that he believes other world leaders would "love to get out of their offices" to plan a post-pandemic world.

"It's the chance for the leaders of the democracies of the free enterprise countries to get together and decide how to get their economies reopened and how we can work together to make sure we all come out of this COVID crisis and bring back health and peace and prosperity to our peoples," he said.