Brazil's Bolsonaro going to UN meet despite being unvaccinated for Covid-19

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has said he would be the "last Brazilian" to get vaccinated. PHOTO: AFP

BRASÍLIA (AFP) - Brazil's Covid-19-unvaccinated President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday (Sept 16) he will attend next week's United Nations conclave in New York, effectively defying the city authorities who recently announced proof-of-vaccination requirements for all attending leaders and diplomats.

"Next week I will be at the UN General Assembly (UNGA), where I will give an opening speech" on Tuesday, the president said during a social media broadcast.

It will be "a calm speech, very objective, focused on the issues that interest us", added Mr Bolsonaro, who said he would discuss Brazil's approach to the coronavirus pandemic, its agriculture business and energy.

On Wednesday, the New York mayor's office wrote the UNGA laying out the guidelines, including that delegates must show proof of vaccination to enter the debate hall - a move that raised questions about Mr Bolsonaro's in-person participation.

The letter signed by New York City's health commissioner said the UN debate hall was classified as a "convention centre", meaning all attendees must be vaccinated, just as other people participating in some indoor activities in the city.

Hours later, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he could not impose the requirement on heads of state.

Mr Bolsonaro, who had the virus last year, has said he would be the "last Brazilian" to get vaccinated.

Brazil, with a population of 213 million, ranks fourth worldwide in number of vaccine doses administered, according to research group Our World in Data.

But the president until now has refused to get the shot, claiming that he is already immunised because his antibody rate remains "at the top".

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