(Adding government decrees, byline)
By Ricardo Brito and Marcelo Rochabrun
BRAZIL / SAO PAULO, July 29 (Reuters) – Brazil on Wednesday reopened international air travel to foreign tourists, which have been banned since March, even when the country’s coronavirus outbreak was ranked second worst in the world.
Tourists from all countries can travel to Brazil as long as they have health insurance during their trip, the government said in a decree that did not explain the reason for the decision.
Brazil, the country worst hit by COVID-19 after the United States, reported on Wednesday the number of new deaths and confirmed cases.
Brazil reopens its air borders faster than other countries in the region with less severe outbreaks, such as Colombia, Argentina, Panama and Peru, which remain closed to international commercial flights.
Reuters reported on the government’s intention to allow international air travel early on Wednesday.
While tourists can now visit Brazil, many countries have not yet taken reciprocal action due to the severity of the outbreak. The United States and the European Union, for example, are open for international travel but do not allow tourists from Brazil. (Reporting by Ricardo Brito and Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Sandra Maler and Richard Chang)