Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro was pictured Sunday evening eating pizza in the streets of New York City after not being allowed into any local restaurant because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.
The 66-year-old head of state is to take part in Tuesday's meeting at the United Nations General Assembly. In any case, his ordinary man life was worthy of a much wider press coverage than his meeting Monday morning with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Luxury dinner in New York, joked on Twitter Brazil's Minister of the Secretariat of the Presidency, Luiz Eduardo Ramos, with a photo of Bolsonaro enjoying a slice of pizza with other members of his entourage. Let's go for Pizza with Coca Cola, Tourism Minister Gilson Machado wrote on Instagram.
It is customary that the President of Brazil delivers the opening speech at the UN General Assembly, although this time around Bolsonaro's participation was in doubt due to New York City health regulations which regarded UN's General Assembly amphitheatre as any other convention centre and therefore subject to local sanitary rules which call for proof of vaccination to let people through.
But last Thursday General Assembly Speaker Abdulla Shahid, wrote to the delegates of the member states to specify that it was enough to file a statement declaring that they were not carriers of the virus (through the vaccine, a negative test or the absence of symptoms).
Bolsonaro, who often says that he is already immunized after being infected with coronavirus last year, has repeatedly stated that he will be the last Brazilian to receive an anticovid vaccine, of which 222 million doses have already been applied in his country.
After arriving in New York on Sunday night, he had to use the back door to enter his hotel so as not to run into protesters chanting Out with Bolsonaro!.
Bolsonaro, arrived in New York without being vaccinated, as required by local authorities and recommended by the United Nations, provoking the outrage of Mayor Bill de Blasio. We must send a message to all the leaders of the world, including and very particularly to Bolsonaro, from Brazil, that whoever wants to come must be vaccinated, because we should all be safe together, de Blasio told reporters after demanding last week that all members of the delegations participating at the UN's General Assembly were vaccinated.
In Monday morning's meeting with the UK's head of government, Bolsonaro once again boasted: I have not yet been vaccinated, he giggled as was being advised by Johnson to go for the AstraZeneca drug.
To appease New Yorkers, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had to step in, arguing that given the uneven access to vaccines from developing countries it was wise to be more permissive with foreign visitors.