US Urges World Leaders Not to Attend UN General Assembly in Person

The United States on Wednesday has urged world leaders to attend the 76th session of the UN General Assembly via video link instead of in person due to the pandemic.

A note from the US Mission sent to the 192 other UN member nations called for all other UN-hosted meetings and side events to be virtual.

“Heads of delegation should consider delivering their statements to the U.N. General Assembly’s General Debate by video. If delegations choose to travel to New York … we request delegations bring the minimum number of travelers necessary,” said US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

The US note added that the Biden administration is particularly concerned about Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the incoming General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid hosting high-level in-person events.

The United States said the Covid-19 pandemic “continues to pose a significant health risk around the world,” with the current Delta variant affecting both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said late Wednesday that the UN already put in place a number of measures to deal with the Delta variant. These measures included mandatory mask-wearing at UN headquarters and reporting of vaccination status and positive Covid-19 tests.

Agendas for the event include climate change, vaccines, the 20th anniversary of the UN World Conference Against Racism, food systems, and energy.

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