World leaders return to U.N. with focus on pandemic, climate


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.

As the coronavirus still rages amid an inequitable vaccine roll-out, about a third of the 193 UN 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.

A so-called UN honour 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 sceptic, who last week declared that he does not need the shot because he is already immune after being infected with COVID-19.

However, 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 vaccine.

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres said, “The discussions around how many travelling diplomats might have been immunised illustrated how dramatic the inequality is today in relation to vaccination.”

He is pushing for a global plan to vaccinate 70 per cent of the world by the first half of next year.

Out of 5.7 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered around the world, only 2 per cent have been in Africa.

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