Upon landing in New York City, Brazil President Jair Bolsonar had his first meal in the U.S. in the middle of the street due to restrictive city-wide restrictions not allowing unvaccinated people to dine indoors.
Bolsonar, who claims he is unvaccinated against coronavirus, and his ministers had pizza slices and sodas in the middle of the street on Sunday as they arrived in-person for the United Nations General Assembly *UNGA) meeting.
Pictures of the humble meal emerged on the Minister of Tourism Gilson Machado’s social media of Bolsonar with the Brazilian Ministers of Health, Marcelo Queiroga; Justice and Public Security, Anderson Torres; Civil House, Luiz Eduardo Ramos; and President of Caixa Econômica Federal, Pedro Guimarães, according to Brazilian news site Correio Braziliense.
On Monday, he met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who remarked before the bilateral meeting: ‘Thanks everybody, get AstraZeneca vaccines.’
He then told Bolsonaro he’s ‘had it twice’, referring to the shot. At that remark, Bolsonaro laughed and said ‘not me’, while pointing to himself.
A member of his delegation, who arrived in New York City a week before the president, has since tested positive for COVID-19. He has been placed in quarantine at a NYC hotel.
Bolsonaro, who has been vocal in dismissing the seriousness of the virus, tested positive in July 2020. He previously described the disease as nothing more than ‘a little flu’ and claimed his past as an athlete would make him immune to the worst symptoms.
Brazil President Jair Bolsonar (pictured third from left) had to eat pizza outside on the street in New York City because he is unvaccinated
Pictures of Bolsanro emerged of his first meal on U.S. soil for the United Nations General Assembly Meeting this week. He was joined by Caixa Economica Federal Bank President Pedro Guimaraes, General Luiz Eduardo Ramos, Tourism Minister Gilson Machado Neto, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga and other politicians
Also according to the report, Bolsonaro and his ministers, all unmasked, had to sneak in the back door of their hotel in New York City as they were met by a group of protesters with signs telling him he is not welcome.
Bolsonaro, a far-right leader, will deliver a live speech at UNGA gathering in the largest U.S. city with the most restrictive coronavirus mandates, including vaccine proof requirements for all indoor venues, including convention centers.
Brazil’s government has imposed 100-year secrecy on Bolsonaro’s card, making it impossible to know for sure if he’s been vaccinated against COVID-19 or not. He claims, however, that he did not take the vaccine and continues to defend using other medicines, including hydroxychloroquine, against the disease.
The White House expressed concern that the UNGA gathering could be a COVID-19 superspreader event.
‘We are concerned about the U.N. event being a superspreader event, and that we need to take all measures to ensure that it does not become a superspreader event,’ President Joe Biden’s Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said during a press conference Friday.
On Monday, Bolsonaro met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who remarked before the bilateral meeting: ‘Thanks everybody, get AstraZeneca vaccines.’ He then told Bolsonaro he’s ‘had it twice’, referring to the shot. At that remark, Bolsonaro laughed and said ‘not me’, while pointing to himself
Bolsonaro walks outside his hotel to the United Nations building
World leaders began descending on New York City last week for the annual meeting, and Thomas-Greenfield notes they aren’t necessarily abiding by local vaccine requirements and other coronavirus-related restrictions.
President Joe Biden will head north on Monday to deliver remarks in-person to his international counterparts. He is expected to appear with a smaller-than-usual White House entourage.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Friday she is worried the General Assembly gathering could turn into a COVID superspreader event
Last year’s UNGA meeting, held at the height of the pandemic, forced world leaders to go virtual. This year, however, the meeting is being held in hybrid formatting, allowing heads of state to appear in person or by video message.
Thomas-Greenfield said she sent a note urging diplomats and world leaders to send in videos to be played throughout the two-week event.
More than 100 presidents, prime ministers and other leaders are expected to give in-person speeches.
New York City has some of the most restrictive COVID-19 rules currently, after Mayor Bill de Blasio imposed earlier this summer a mandate that people need to be vaccinated – and show proof of vaccination – to enjoy indoor activities like dining, concerts, movies and convention centers.
UNGA is held indoors at the U.N. General Assembly Hall, which qualified as a convention center, according to a September 9 letter from de Blasio’s Office for International Affairs.
New York City’s health commissioner informed the General Assembly president-elect Abdulla Shahid that UNGA would be covered by a local law requiring proof of vaccination for indoor venues.
Already indicative of clashes is Bolsonaro, who says he is not vaccinated but has antibodies from a COVID-19 infection last year. His in-person attendance at UNGA defies the New York City vaccine requirement and the honor system it implemented for attendees.
President Joe Biden will land in New York on Monday and speak at UNGA on Tuesday indoors at the gathering hall in New York City
There are already concerns over world leaders and diplomats not following NYC vaccination protocols, which requires people to be vaccinated for indoor events – including at convention centers
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called the requirement ‘discriminatory’ and said he was ‘surprised and disappointed’ by the idea of requiring proof of vaccination to enter the General Assembly Hall.
Nebenzia claimed the rule is contrary to the 1947 agreement between the U.S. and the U.N. that establishes the world body’s international status.
After pushback on the requirement, Shahid walked back in a new letter on Thursday: ‘I would like to advise delegations that the honour system related to vaccinations … remains in place.’
Secretary General’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said Friday that the honor system means ‘by swiping a badge to enter the General Assembly Hall, delegates attest that they are fully vaccinated, that they have not tested positive for COVID‑19 in the last 10 days [and] have no symptoms.’
De Blasio announced New York City will open a pop-up testing and vaccination site at U.N. headquarters where attendees can get free COVID-19 tests and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The 2021 UNGA gathering kicked off last week and will conclude Tuesday.
Case rates of COVID-19 have been spiking in the U.S. as the Delta variant surges and more breakthrough cases emerge in vaccinated people
Deaths have also been on the rise as cases spike, reaching event some daily rates at the height of the pandemic in the winter