President Trump on Sunday imposed new travel restrictions on Brazil, one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. Foreigners will not be allowed to travel to the U.S. if they have been in Brazil any time during the 14-days prior to when they are scheduled to travel to the U.S.
The travel ban does not apply to permanent U.S. residents, their spouses, legal guardians of permanent residents under the age of 21 and other groups.
"Today's action will help ensure foreign nationals who have been in Brazil do not become a source of additional infections in our country," White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement. "These new restrictions do not apply to the flow of commerce between the United States and Brazil."
Brazil has more than 347,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University. Only the U.S. has more, with over 1.6 million.
"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.
As cases surge in Brazil, and begin to dwindle in East Asia and Europe, the World Health Organization is calling South America the new epicenter of the pandemic. Cases have also been surging in India.
O'Brien also said Sunday that the White House will be looking into more travel restrictions from the southern hemisphere "on a country-by-country basis."