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World leaders are returning to the United Nations in New York this week with a focus on boosting efforts to fight both climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, which last year forced them to send video statements for the annual gathering.
Axar.az reports that as the coronavirus still rages amid an inequitable vaccine rollout, about a third of the 193 U.N. states are planning to again send videos, but presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers for the remainder are due to travel to the United States.
The United States tried to dissuade leaders from coming to New York in a bid to stop the U.N. General Assembly from becoming a "super-spreader event," although President Joe Biden will address the assembly in person, his first U.N. visit since taking office. A so-called U.N. honor system means that anyone entering the assembly hall effectively declares they are vaccinated, but they do not have to show proof.
This system will be broken when the first country speaks - Brazil. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is a vaccine skeptic, who last week declared that he does not need the shot because he is already immune after being infected with COVID-19.
Should he change his mind, New York City has set up a van outside the United Nations for the week to supply free testing and free shots of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) vaccine.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told Reuters that the discussions around how many traveling diplomats might have been immunized illustrated "how dramatic the inequality is today in relation to vaccination." He is pushing for a global plan to vaccinate 70% of the world by the first half of next year.
2021.09.19 / 11:35