Unlike in 2020, when the UN General Assembly session was held almost entirely because of the pandemic, more than 100 world leaders and other high-ranking representatives intend to deliver their speeches in person this year.
But access to the 16-acre UN campus in Manhattan is limited with mandatory wearing of masks and other COVID prevention measures. United States Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told reporters Measures were taken to ensure that the General Assembly “does not become a superspreader phenomenon.”
Confusion arose last week over a New York City requirement that all General Assembly participants must show proof of vaccination. This year the President of the General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, Foreign Minister of Maldives, need supported. But how it will be implemented is not clear.
UN officials have said that staff at the organization’s headquarters should be vaccinated, but a respect system remains in place for visiting VIPs and other guests.
As a goodwill gesture, New York City’s municipal government deployed a mobile vaccine clinic outside the United Nations campus, offering free testing and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Many speakers this year still opted to deliver their addresses via pre-recorded video, as was done by all leaders last year when vaccines were still under development and each delegation in the General Assembly Hall was up to two people. was limited. Almost all the events in the 2020 event were held virtually.
This year the General Assembly Hall can seat four people from each member state.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, an outspoken vaccine skeptic whose popularity has partly fallen at home in what critics call disastrous for his handling of the pandemic, vowed ahead of his speech that he would not be vaccinated.
He was infected with COVID more than a year ago and then claimed to have cured himself by taking hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug that has not been shown to be effective in treating Covid.