Unvaxxed Bolsonaro forced to eat pizza on New York sidewalk amid covid restaurant vaccination rules

Far-right leader of Brazil also dodged protesters outside a hotel, ahead of UN General Assembly

Gino Spocchia
Monday 20 September 2021 17:56 BST
UN General Assembly: World leaders meet in New York before summit

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was seemingly forced to eat a slice of New York pizza on the street after he fell foul of local rules for unvaccinated diners.

Mr Bolsonaro, an infamous vaccine sceptic, arrived in New York on Sunday ahead of the 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), when he was pictured eating a slice of pizza with Brazilian ministers and aides.

The image, which was shared by Brazilian tourism minister Gilson Machado Neto on Instagram, showed Mr Bolsonaro holding a pizza slice. The caption to the photo read: “Let’s go for pizza with Coke”.

Brazil’s ministers for health and justice, Marcelo Queiroga and Anderson Torres, as well as the president of a government-owned financial services firm, Pedro Guimarães, were also in the photo, and are in New York with the president.

As Brazilian newspaper Correio Braziliense highlighted, Mr Bolsonaro and his ministers were standing on the street for what was “their first meal” in New York, which this month started enforcing rules for indoor dining because of Covid.

Under rules introduced by mayor Bill de Blasio, New Yorkers as well as tourists must be vaccinated with at least a single dose, and be able to show proof of their vaccination status in order to sit inside restaurants and bars, and gain access to most indoor venues.

According to the report, Mr Bolsonaro and his team were also forced to enter a New York hotel through the backdoor on Sunday night — as a demonstration against the far-right leader unfolded out the front.

Mr Bolsonaro, in a speech ahead of his trip to New York and the UNGA, allegedly admitted in public last week that he was unvaccinated and claimed to already have antibodies from falling ill from Covid last year.

He also confirmed his attendance at the general assembly in New York, which has ruled out requiring world leaders to show proof of vaccination. More than a hundred are expected to take part.

By tradition, Brazil’s president is scheduled to deliver the first speech after UN secretary general Antonio Guterres opens the 76th session on Tuesday. Mr Bolsonaro is also due to meet with world leaders for bi-lateral meetings including with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Mr Bolsonaro has been condemned in Brazil for falling ill with Covid after his own resistance to many public health measures to control the virus , which has seen Brazil among the worst hit by Covid in South America and around the globe.

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