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World leaders return to UN in-person under vaccination 'honor system'

i24NEWS

clock 2 min read

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet seen on a screen delivering her speech remotely at the opening of an emergency meeting in Geneva on May 27, 2021.
FABRICE COFFRINI / AFPUnited Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet seen on a screen delivering her speech remotely at the opening of an emergency meeting in Geneva on May 27, 2021.

Only a third of UN states are expected to send virtual statements, with the remainder attending physically

United Nations diplomats returning to the organization this week will not have to present proof of vaccination under the UN's "honor system."

Last week, after unvaccinated President Bolsonaro of Brazil announced he would be in attendance, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres explained he could not demand heads of state comply with inoculation regulations.

As a result, the UN will be implementing an "honor system" for in-person parties. By entering the premises, attendees are essentially claiming they have received both doses of the vaccine, but will not be required to show evidence.

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The situation serves to highlight "how dramatic the inequality is today in relation to vaccination," Guterres argued in Reuters.

While delegations at last year's conference delivered virtual statements due to Covid concerns, this year only a third of UN countries sent videos. 

However, the number of envoys in a country's in-person party will be limited to contain viral spread.

In an effort to mitigate the health risks posed by the convention's influx of travelers, New York City set up a Covid combatting van outside the UN. The center will issue free Covid testing, as well as free single doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, according to Reuters.

Biden will address the UN in-person, but will not remain in New York longer than 24 hours due to Covid concerns.