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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.
“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 in a proclamation Sunday 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
“His radical plan is a recipe for disaster that would create more opportunities for fraud & destroy the confidence Californians deserve to have in their elections,” Ms. McDaniel wrote.
Mr. Newsom’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The governor’s executive order requires each county’s elections officials to send vote-by-mail ballots to all registered voters for the Nov. 3 election. There are about 20.7 million registered voters in California, according to election registration data.
“No Californian should be forced to risk their health in order to exercise their right to vote,” Mr. Newsom said in a statement on May 8 when he signed the executive order.
The head of Wuhan’s virus lab denies that it was the source of the novel coronavirus.
The Trump administration’s unsubstantiated claims that the coronavirus pandemic was set off from a Wuhan government laboratory are “pure fabrication,” the head of the lab was quoted as saying in Chinese state media on Sunday.
Wang Yanyi, who leads the Wuhan Institute of Virology, said that the institute first received a sample of the virus at the end of December. By that point, the virus had been circulating in Wuhan, a major travel hub, for weeks.
“We didn’t have any knowledge about the virus before that, nor have we ever met, researched or kept the virus,” Dr. Wang said.
Scientists are still studying how the outbreak first happened. Most of them believe that the virus was passed from bats to humans via an intermediary species, one that was probably sold at a wet market in Wuhan late last year.
On Sunday, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, appeared on “Face the Nation” and “Meet the Press,” accusing Chinese officials of carrying out a cover-up of the Covid-19 outbreak that effectively “unleashed” the virus on the world.
Houses of worship around the world face tough choices in reopening.
Congregations across the U.S. were still using Facebook or YouTube to hold services on Sunday, or were taking part from their cars in the church parking lot.
But pastors have been sharing plans for returning to in-person services in the weeks ahead while deciding how to do so safely.
“Some governors have deemed the liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s not right. So I am correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential.”
Minnesota announced on Saturday that it would allow houses of worship to open at 25 percent capacity, if they follow public health guidelines. Some Catholic and Lutheran leaders had said they would resume in-person worship next week in defiance of Gov. Tim Walz’s previous order limiting gatherings.
Houses of worship can already open legally in more than half the states, but many had decided to remain closed while working out their next steps.
The idea of reopening is an especially difficult issue for African-American churches, as the coronavirus has been infecting and killing black people at disproportionally high rates.
Leaders of the Church of God in Christ, a historically black denomination with about six million members worldwide, are urging pastors not to begin reopening until at least July.
“The moral safe choice is to wait,” Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr., the church’s presiding bishop, said. “We don’t think now is the time, and neither do the scientists and doctors we consult with.”
In Germany, which for weeks now has allowed religious services, 40 churchgoers became infected with the coronavirus during a service at a Baptist church in Frankfurt, the health authorities said.
Six parishioners were hospitalized, according to Wladimir Pritzkau, a leader of the parish.
“We followed all the rules,” Mr. Pritzkau told the German news agency DPA.
France took tentative steps on Sunday to reopen churches, mosques and synagogues. Officials were nudged by a legal challenge to a blanket ban on public worship that was not set to be lifted until the end of May.
There was a sense of both joy and anxiety in the Catholic church of St.-Germain-des-Prés in Paris, where the Rev. Antoine De Folleville is the parish priest, as worshipers returned for the first time in two months.
In Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher reopened after a two-month lockdown. On the West Bank, thousands of Palestinians crowded into streets early Sunday in defiance of coronavirus restrictions, including many who demanded that the Palestinian authorities reopen mosques for Eid al-Fitr, the festival for the conclusion of the fasting month of Ramadan.
“The people want holiday prayers,” demonstrators chanted in front of the Palestinian Authority’s headquarters in the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
Boris Johnson says he won’t fire top aide who defied lockdown orders.
Despite calls for him to oust a top adviser who disobeyed Britain’s stay-at-home order, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is standing by that official, Dominic Cummings, who had fallen ill with the coronavirus.
During a news briefing on Sunday, the prime minister staunchly defended Mr. Cummings for driving in April to visit his parents in Durham, in the north of England. But Mr. Johnson deflected questions about whether he had known of Mr. Cummings’s travels and muddied the details of the lockdown rules.
Mr. Cummings has said there was no other way to get care for his young child after he and his wife began showing symptoms of the virus.
“He followed the instincts of every father and every parent, and I do not mark him down for that,” Mr. Johnson said on Sunday. “I believe that in every respect, he has acted responsibly, and legally, and with integrity.”
Mr. Johnson’s decision to stand by his adviser underlines his deep reliance on Mr. Cummings, who was the architect of his election victory last year and the driving force behind his ambitious post-Brexit agenda. But it is unlikely to defuse the uproar over Mr. Cummings’s actions, which critics say send a signal that Britain’s leaders can ignore the rules they impose on others.
The opposition Labour Party called for an inquiry into Mr. Cummings’s conduct and accused Mr. Johnson of double standards.
“It is an insult to sacrifices made by the British people that Boris Johnson has chosen to take no action against Dominic Cummings,” the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, said in a statement. “The public will be forgiven for thinking there is one rule for the prime minister’s closest adviser and another for the British people.”
The vaccine developed first may not be the best, an expert warns.
Though there are promising signs that coronavirus vaccines will be successfully developed, an expert cautioned on Sunday that the first vaccines that become available may not prove to be the most effective.
Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said on the NBC program “Meet the Press” that some early vaccines may be only partly protective.
“They may reduce hospitalization and death, which is still very important,” he said, but in the end, the first to be released “may not be the ones we wind up with.”
“History tells us they get replaced with new and improved vaccines, so this is a gradual process,” Dr. Hotez said, stressing that the next year or so would probably not result in the introduction of “a magic bullet” against the virus.
Dr. Barouch cautioned that while it “is theoretically possible” to develop a vaccine in 12 to 18 months, “many, many things would have to go perfectly the first time” for that to happen.
New York sports teams can resume training, Cuomo says.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo gave the go-ahead on Sunday for teams to reopen their training facilities in New York, saying that the absence of professional sports had left a significant void this spring during a stay-at-home order.
“I believe that sports that can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena,” Mr. Cuomo said during his daily coronavirus briefing. “Do it. Work out the economics if you can. We want you up.”
In the National Basketball Association, the Brooklyn Nets will reopen their training center for voluntary workouts on Tuesday, ESPN reported on Sunday.
Major League Baseball, the N.B.A. and National Hockey League are all in discussions with the players’ unions about the timetable, safety protocols and logistics of playing games.
Training is the first hurdle in that complicated process, and several states still have not cleared teams to practice. The Yankees would normally train at their complex in Tampa, Fla.
The N.B.A. and N.H.L. suspended their seasons during the second week of March because of the outbreak, while baseball had been scheduled to start its season on March 26.
A significant point of contention for the players and owners has been over how much the athletes would be paid in a shortened seasons without the revenue from ticket sales and stadium concessions.
And then there is the issue of the health and safety of the players and team employees, which has put the onus on each of the sports leagues to develop testing and contact tracing protocols should an athlete become infected.
“We want people to be able to watch sports to the extent people are still staying home,” Mr. Cuomo said. “It gives people something to do. It’s a return to normalcy so we are working and encouraging all sports teams to start their training camps as soon as possible and we will work with them to make sure that can happen.”
Florida braces for a hurricane season complicated by fears of contagion.
Consider this scenario: It’s deep into the summer and a powerful hurricane looms off the Florida coast, threatening enormous destruction and widespread blackouts. In normal times, that would prompt evacuation orders for millions of coastal residents.
But in the middle of a pandemic, the most consequential disaster decisions become complicated by fears of contagion.
This is the planning challenge that emergency managers across the Southeast face ahead of June 1, the start of a hurricane season that meteorologists expect to be quite active.
If a big storm comes this summer, people in harm’s way may hear advice from the authorities that is somewhat contradictory and perhaps confusing: Stay at home and remain socially distant from others to avoid contracting the coronavirus. But leave home — even if that means coming into closer contact with other people — to be safe during a dangerous hurricane.
“We’re going to need to get people out, because that is the emergent threat,” said Jared Moskowitz, the director of Florida’s division of emergency management. “We will undoubtedly have to balance the risks.”
Around the world, documenting the pandemic in journals and drawings.
As the coronavirus continues to spread and confine people largely to their homes, many are filling pages with their experiences of living through a pandemic. Their diaries are told in words and pictures: pantry inventories, window views, questions about the future, concerns about the present.
Taken together, the pages tell the story of an anxious, claustrophobic world on pause.
“You can say anything you want, no matter what, and nobody can judge you,” said Ady, an 8-year-old in the Bay Area of California who has been keeping a diary. “No one says, ‘scaredy-cat.’”
When historians begin assembling the story of life during coronavirus, these first-person accounts will be one place to start.
The pandemic commercial salutes you.
Many crises beget their own corporate public service announcements — remember the Budweiser Clydesdale tribute to 9/11? — but rarely have they occurred with such speed and ubiquity as in the coronavirus pandemic.
Dozens of online and television ads have aimed to position brands within the pandemic experience, deploying inspirational pop music and gravelly voice-over artists to assure viewers in “these unprecedented times” (Buick), that “in times as uncertain as these” (Chick fil A), “we’re all living a new normal” (State Farm), but “even now, some things never change” (Target) because “our spirit is what unites us” (Dodge).
They typically begin with drone footage of empty streets, a shot of a child staring plaintively out of a window and then — cue some upbeat music — a medical worker peeling off a mask or a guy jamming on a home piano.
One Coca-Cola commercial elevates the subtext into words. “For all the scare mongering, there is also care mongering,” it says. “For every virus, there is a vaccine … in positivity.”
As Americans gather on a holiday weekend, governors and officials stress continued safety measures.
Governors and Trump administration officials appearing on the Sunday talk shows stressed the need for caution as the country gingerly tries to restart something resembling normal life.
Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey, a Democrat, said it was too early to tell whether residents were following social distancing guidelines after beaches were reopened.
“For the most part, folks have been extraordinary in doing the right thing in the state now, for going on two and a half-plus months,” Governor Murphy said on the CNN program “State of the Union.” “And I fully expect that will continue on the beaches, even when Mother Nature begins to cooperate with good weather.”
He stressed the need for federal aid to shore up his depleted state budget and prevent layoffs of essential workers, including police officers, health care workers and teachers.
Administration officials were in talks with lawmakers about another round of economic assistance to hard-hit individuals, businesses and possibly state and local governments, the White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said on the same program.
Mr. Hassett touted the effectiveness of stimulus payments to many Americans, and said the economy may now be improving fast enough for lawmakers to decide against a second round of payments, and instead turn to tax cuts — including one that would largely benefit high-earning investors.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, a Republican who never issued a full stay-at-home order, likened efforts to reopen while maintaining social distancing to wearing a seatbelt.
“You can be in an automobile, and it’s very risky, but you manage the risk by wearing a seatbelt,” he said in an interview with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “At first, everyone resisted wearing a seatbelt and said, ‘Well, that’s a matter of freedom.’ Well, it is, but it’s also a matter of safety.”
“This is not about whether you’re liberal or conservative, left or right, Republican or Democrat,” Mr. DeWine said on “Meet the Press” on NBC. “We wear the masks not to protect yourself so much as to protect others. This is one time when we truly are all in this together. What we do directly impacts others.”
“We know it’s important for people to socially interact, but we also know it’s important that we have to have masks on if we’re less than six feet, and that we have to maintain that six feet.”
Hong Kong protesters, subdued for months by the virus, are back on the streets.
Protesters gathered in a central shopping district around midday, chanting slogans against the government and the Chinese Communist Party like “Heavens will destroy the C.C.P.” and “Hong Kong independence is the only way out.”
Dozens of police officers in riot gear swarmed the area, but many protesters pressed around them, ignoring their warnings to disperse. Just before 1:30 p.m., the police fired at least four rounds of tear gas, sending protesters scrambling. The Hong Kong police said in a statement that they arrested 120 people, most on charges of unlawful assembly.
The protest was the biggest the territory had seen in several months. The Hong Kong government has banned public gatherings of more than eight people until at least June 4, and attempts since January to revive the protests were sparsely attended and quickly stifled by the police.
Many Hong Kong residents see China’s move to impose the security laws as a major blow to the city’s relative autonomy, perhaps an irreparable one.
In Beijing on Sunday, the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, asserted that the protests that had roiled Hong Kong posed a grave threat to national security, proving that such legislation was long overdue. “We must get it done without the slightest delay,” Mr. Wang said at a news briefing.
China promises more consumer spending and jobs.
With the coronavirus outbreak in China at least temporarily under control, consumer spending is recovering and plans are underway to create jobs, Chinese officials said on Sunday.
Retail sales plunged in February and only gradually rose in March and April even as industrial production rebounded. Ning Jizhe, vice chairman of China’s top economic planning agency, said on Sunday that consumer spending continued to recover this month but did not predict whether it would catch up with last year’s level.
“Covid-19 has had a broad impact on the economy, and consumption bears the brunt,” he said at a news conference in Beijing. Earlier on Sunday, the Chinese mainland reported three new confirmed infections, including one locally transmitted case and two from overseas.
Governments in the United States and elsewhere have paid money directly to households as the outbreak hits global growth. China appears to be more interested in allocating money to investment programs.
Mr. Ning outlined a two-pronged plan to create jobs. First, China will start public works construction programs in rural areas that are meant to employ migrant workers. The national government has approved an additional $140 billion in borrowing by local governments this year to help pay for these projects, he said.
Second, Mr. Ning said, the government plans to create nine million jobs in cities, especially for this year’s 8.7 million college graduates. Incentives will be provided for business start-ups as well as large employers.
More than 300,000 jobs will be allocated to China’s poorest people as part of the government’s campaign to alleviate extreme poverty this year, said Cong Liang, the agency’s secretary general.
Tourism and cultural life are creeping back around the world, with a raft of caveats.
As countries begin to open their economies, a monthslong deep freeze on tourism and cultural life is gradually thawing — with caveats.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of Spain announced that the country, which is highly dependent on tourism for the health of its economy, would allow international visitors in July.
Mr. Sánchez did not set a specific date, but his government has been under intense pressure to help salvage the summer for a tourism industry that accounted for 12 percent of Spain’s gross domestic output last year, when Spain received almost 84 million visitors.
“There will be a summer tourism season,” Mr. Sánchez said in a televised address on Saturday. “We will guarantee that tourists will not face any risks, nor will they bring any risk to our country.”
Exceltur, a Spanish tourism lobby, said that the decision to reopen in July could help reduce the cost of the lockdown, which began in mid-March, by about 20 billion euros, or about $22 billion. Exceltur previously forecast the Spanish tourism sector would lose as much as €92 billion in revenue this year.
In the United States, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston became the first major art museum to reopen since the country went into lockdown in March. Mask-wearing visitors encountered virus-specific restrictions even before they went inside on Saturday, lining up on large blue stickers placed six feet apart.
Other countries are also eager to restart their tourism industry, with officials in Greece suggesting an “air bridge” with other nations that have few cases of the coronavirus.
International flights to Athens are to resume June 15, followed by the rest of the country’s airports on July 1. But tourists will be admitted only if their home countries meet certain “epidemiological criteria,” officials said.
Britain will make international air travelers self-isolate at a home or hotel for 14 days as of June 8. The government published a list of travelers who would be exempt, including truck drivers, seasonal farmworkers and medical workers, but airlines and tourism companies say that the requirement will damage their industries.
In a reciprocal move, France announced that people arriving from Britain would have to self-isolate for 14 days starting June 8. Travelers arriving from Spain by plane will also be asked to go into quarantine from Monday.
In Australia, officials on Sunday laid out plans to allow tourism in parts of the state of Victoria starting in June. Skiing, for example, will be allowed starting June 22. But many ski resorts plan to operate at half capacity, The Canberra Times reported, and they’re bracing for a raft of distancing restrictions.
The U.S. loosens restrictions, even as it nears 100,000 deaths.
The United States edged closer to 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus on Saturday, even as overall infections have slowed and the country has moved to loosen restrictions intended to slow the spread of the pandemic.
Medical experts have warned that lifting lockdowns could cause a spike in cases, but governors continued to ease rules in hopes of reviving the economy, while President Trump played golf at his members-only club in Virginia.
In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that gatherings of up to 10 people would be allowed anywhere in the state — including New York City — provided that social-distancing protocols were followed. On Saturday the governor reported 84 new deaths from the virus statewide, the first time the daily death toll has fallen below 100 since late March.
The risks of trying to return to normal life were underscored in Missouri, where health officials said that a hair stylist who worked for eight days at a salon while sick with the virus had potentially exposed 84 clients and seven co-workers.
And a new study found that, compared with white or Hispanic patients, black patients seeking care have more advanced cases of Covid-19.
The disparity remained even after researchers took into account differences in age, sex, income and chronic health problems that exacerbate Covid-19, like hypertension and Type 2 diabetes.
The finding suggested that black patients may have had limited access to medical care or that they postponed seeking help until later in the course of their illness, when the disease was more advanced.
Afghanistan begins an Eid cease-fire, but concerns about the virus linger.
As Muslims around the world celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday this weekend, the communal prayers, feasts and parties that usually accompany it have been restricted or scrapped. Not everyone in the Muslim world is sticking to the rules, however.
In Afghanistan, the authorities have struggled to enforce their call for people to stay home during Eid, the holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Markets were crowded in recent days, and many shoppers went maskless.
Afghanistan has nearly 10,000 confirmed cases, and nearly half of a limited number of tests being carried out are turning out positive day after day. In late March, Ferozuddin Feroz, Afghanistan’s health minister, warned that unless stricter social-distancing measures were enforced, 16 million Afghans could be infected and 110,000 could die.
Reporting was contributed by Reed Abelson, Peter Baker, Dan Barry, Keith Bradsher, Stephen Castle, Melina Delkic, Elizabeth Dias, Max Fisher, Abby Goodnough, Rebecca Halleck, Michael Hardy, Amanda Hess, Jason Horowitz, Mike Ives, Yonette Joseph, Sheila Kaplan, Annie Karni, Mark Landler, Michael Levenson, Cao Li, Iliana Magra, Mujib Mashal, Tiffany May, Patricia Mazzei, Constant Méheut, Sarah Mervosh, Raphael Minder, Amelia Nierenberg, Sharon Otterman, Elizabeth Paton, Roni Caryn Rabin, Austin Ramzy, Adam Rasgon, Rick Rojas, Luis Ferré Sadurní, Andrea Salcedo, Edgar Sandoval, Charlie Savage, Christopher F. Schuetze, Nelson D. Schwartz, Knvul Sheikh, Marc Stein, Matt Stevens, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Jim Tankersley, Neil Vigdor, James Wagner, Vivian Wang, Alex Williams, Elaine Yu and Karen Zraick.
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