Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro will meet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on Monday, in New York, before delivering the opening speech at the United Nations General Assembly, it was announced.
Bolsonaro plans to leave Brasilia Sunday morning for New York, where he will meet with Johnson and then attend a formal reception. According to sources from Brazil's Foreign Ministry, the head of state is also scheduled to meet privately with the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, as well as with heads of State or Government of other countries.
Bolsonaro's presence at the Assembly in New York, where it was announced that vaccination would be mandatory, was being questioned because of his reluctance to take the COVID-19 jab and insisted he would nonetheless attend the diplomatic events.
“I will be at the UN General Assembly next week. I will give the opening speech [on Tuesday]. A serene speech, very objective, focused on points of interest to us,” Bolsonaro had said Thursday, in his traditional broadcast on social media, pointing to the management of the pandemic in Brazil, agribusiness and energy as examples.
The head of state, infected with the coronavirus last year, also reaffirmed that he will not take the vaccine, claiming that he already has antibodies.
So far, it is not clear how the mandatory immunization rule in New York will be applied in the Assembly. City Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi stressed that the General Assembly amphitheatre was a convention centre subject to the same rules as most indoor activity spaces in New York. But Guterres said he could not impose this restriction on heads of state.
In a statement released Friday, the Brazilian Government confirmed that, as it happens every year, Brazil will be the first country to speak at the General Debate of the Assembly, on September 21st.
Thursday evening, Bolsonaro insisted on not vaccinating teenagers or himself. He made those remarks during a dialogue broadcast on social media with Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga.
Take the vaccine for what? To have antibodies? My antibody rate is up there, I present the documentation, I have a 991 index of immunoglobulin G or IgG, the President said.
Queiroga replied: President, you are fine, but you need to get vaccinated.
The 66-year-old Bolsonaro has refused to take any vaccine against COVID-19 and defended the use of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that experts do not recommend to combat the disease. Bolsonaro also admitted he also took ivermectin, another drug not recommended for Covid-19.
Bolsonaro has questioned the efficacy of vaccines and in 2020 he affirmed that the World Health Organization (WHO) is a body guided by interests and ideological motives.
The Brazilian President has had COVID-19 in July 2020 and hinted again that he may have been infected for the second time recently, on the eve of his trip to the UN, where he will deliver a speech on Tuesday.
Bolsonaro has also conveyed to Minister Queiroga his concern about vaccinating teenagers due to the alleged serious collateral effects of the vaccines. He also insisted the the WHO is against any vaccine for minors from 12 to 17 years old, which Queiroga agreed to. But the measure was not complied with by São Paulo and two other states.