UN Chief cannot enforce New York vaccine mandate

Dozens of heads of state and government and foreign ministers - accompanied by countless diplomats - are due to be in New York City next week for an annual high-level gathering at the United Nations. Some leaders are staying away and sending a video statement instead as the global pandemic still rages.

New York City officials told the United Nations that under its rules people "entering the U.N. premises for the purpose of entering the General Assembly Hall would be required to show proof of vaccination in order to gain entry to the Hall."

But Secretary-General Guterres told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday: "We, as the Secretariat, cannot tell a head of state if he is not vaccinated that he cannot enter the United Nations."

The large U.N. headquarters in Manhattan is international territory and is not subject to U.S. laws, however U.N. officials have previously pledged to abide by local and national guidance when it came to the pandemic.

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