The UNGA games: tension mounts behind scenes of NY summit

An insistence on pressing ahead with potential super-spreader events, and the refusal of world leaders such as Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro to get vaccinated, have turned this year’s UN General Assembly into a gigantic logistical headache

António Guterres: the UN secretary-general’s plans to host in-person events on climate change and vaccines have provoked concern within the Biden administration. Picture: Getty

In the pre-Covid-19 era, the annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was a blessing and a curse for New York. It filled hotel rooms throughout the city, and provided a boon for Manhattan’s priciest restaurants and cocktail bars, as thousands of delegates, dignitaries and their entourages blew their expense budgets on lavish meals, late nights out and the ritual emptying of mini-bars in their five-star rooms.

For the NYPD, the UNGA is strictly a curse, ...