Will leaders be exempted from vaccination when entering the UN meeting?

Will leaders be exempted from vaccination when entering the UN meeting?  - Photo 1.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (left) and Volkan Bozkir, president of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, welcome Abdulla Shahid (centre) to become the president of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 14 – Photo: AP

“We, as the Secretariat, cannot tell a head of state that if you don’t get vaccinated, you can’t enter the UN,” Guterres said.

According to Reuters news agency, the headquarters of the United Nations – in the borough of Manhattan, New York City – is international territory and is not subject to US law. But UN officials have pledged to follow local and national guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have discussed various ways with the city government to ensure we have the maximum number of vaccinated people,” he added.

Mr. Guterres said discussions around how many diplomats who came to UN headquarters might have been vaccinated showed “the current inequalities related to vaccination are increasingly serious”.

However, according to Mr. Guterres, most of the delegations coming to New York have already been vaccinated.

Of the 5.7 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine that have been administered globally, only 2% are in Africa.

Guterres warned that the longer the virus circulates among billions of unvaccinated people, the higher the risk of mutating. He also promoted a global plan to immunize 70% of the world’s population in the first half of 2022.

Also on September 15, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said that next week, the city will provide COVID-19 testing and a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine outside the UN headquarters.

Mr. de Blasio praised the President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, for telling his UN colleagues in a letter that he supported the presentation of proof of vaccination and would work with the UN Secretary-General to issue a decision. enforce this request “as soon as possible”.

However, Russia’s ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said Moscow opposes requiring proof of vaccinations to gain entry to the General Assembly, stressing such a move is discriminatory.

Mr. Nebenzia also called for a General Assembly meeting on September 16 to discuss the issue. But according to Reuters, it is not clear whether the meeting will take place or not.

New York officials have expressed concern to the United Nations about the highly contagious Delta variant, as the number of cases in the city has increased over the past two months.

In August, US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas Greenfield, urged world leaders to send video messages of their messages instead of going to New York, saying the move would help prevent the General Assembly meeting “from becoming a a super-contagious event”.

In 2020, no country sent a delegation to New York, and world leaders sent video messages. This year, according to Reuters, some leaders are expected to do the same, while others will go to UN headquarters for the meeting.

President Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended the United Nations meeting

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the invitation of First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, President Nguyen Xuan Phuc will lead a high-level delegation of the Party and State. Vietnam makes an official visit to Cuba from September 18 to 20.

After that, the President and high-ranking delegation attended the High-Level General Discussion session of the 76th United Nations General Assembly in New York and carried out a number of bilateral activities in the US from September 21 to 24.

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