San Francisco Chronicle

Honor system for global leaders at U.N. gathering


The U.N. General Assembly is relying on a vaccine honor system for world leaders before they speak at this week’s meeting in New York City.

Presidents, premiers, monarchs and other dignitarie­s will not have to show vaccinatio­n cards or other proof of inoculatio­n. Assembly President Abdulla Shahid says they will simply attest to being vaccinated by swiping their identifica­tion badges.

The U.N. has been wrestling with how to implement a New York City vaccinatio­n requiremen­t for convention centers. Russia has criticized the policy, and the first scheduled speaker, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, said he doesn’t plan to get vaccinated anytime soon. He contracted the coronaviru­s in July 2020.

Shahid told members last week that he supported the New York City policy but didn’t give details on how it would work. Shahid, a 59year-old Maldivian, was elected president of the U.N. General Assembly in June.

This week, more than 100 heads of state and government and over 20 foreign ministers have signed up to speak in person. Other nations are participat­ing by video for the speeches, where leaders discuss global issues, spotlight domestic ones and use the world stage to court allies or assail foes.

The coronaviru­s pandemic forced the assembly’s top-level annual meeting to go mostly virtual last year. President Biden will address the assembly on Tuesday.

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