Unvaccinated Brazil President not allowed to enter New York's restaurants, eats pizza on a footpath

Bolsonaro said his immune system is strong enough to fight coronavirus

Unvaccinated Brazil President not allowed to enter New York's restaurants, eats pizza on a footpath

Brazils President Jair Bolsonaro (3d L) eats pizza with Caixa Economica Federal Bank President Pedro Guimaraes, General Luiz Eduardo Ramos, Tourism Minister Gilson Machado Neto, Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga and other politicians on a street ahead of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, US on September 19, 2021. Reuters

Brasilia, September 21

Unvaccinated heads of state attending the United Nations General Assembly this week may have to settle for a piece of pizza on a sidewalk instead of fine dining at New York's restaurants.

That is how Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro dined on his first night in New York, where no one is allowed into the city's restaurants without proof of vaccination against Covid.

The far-right populist is a vaccine skeptic who has bragged about not being vaccinated, saying his immune system is strong enough to fend off the coronavirus.

Two cabinet ministers on his delegation posted a photo of Bolsonaro and aides munching on slices of pizza on a New York sidewalk on Sunday night.

Bolsonaro's supporters praised the casual "simplicity" of their leader happy to eat pizza on the street near the Manhattan hotel where he is staying.

Asked by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a meeting on Monday whether he had been vaccinated, Bolsonaro replied: "No. Not yet."

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio appealed to world leaders, "including most notably Bolsonaro from Brazi,", to get vaccinated before attending the UN gathering in the city.

"If you don't want to be vaccinated, don't bother coming," de Blasio said at a news conference.

Last week, General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid notified the 193-member states that the UN's Covid vaccination honour system will remain in place for presidents, prime ministers and diplomats. They are not required to show proof of immunisation.

Some leaders are staying away and sending a video statement instead because of the coronavirus pandemic. Brazil's mission to the United Nations declined to comment on reports that a Brazilian diplomat had tested positive in New York.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said: "We are aware of the reports and are in contact with the Brazilian mission."

Bolsonaro will be the first head of state to address the annual UN General Assembly on Tuesday morning. Reuters

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