UN General Assembly president has said world leaders will not gather in New York in person for their annual September meeting due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“World leaders cannot come to New York because they cannot come simply as individuals,” Tijjani Muhammad-Bande said Monday in a press conference.

The tradition will be broken down for the first time in the 75-year history of the UN.

A president never travels alone, he said, and stressed that it is “impossible” to bring a large delegation to the city.

He said he hopes to clarify in the next two weeks how the UN’s annual General Debate will take place, after being informed of the medical advice for the US and New York.

The US is the country hardest-hit by the pandemic with more than 1.96 million cases and over 111,000 fatalities, according to a running tally of Johns Hopkins University. In all, more than 518,500 people have recovered from the virus.

Meanwhile, New York recorded nearly 380,000 cases and over 30,400 deaths.

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