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The US is urging the more than 150 countries planning to send their leader or a government minister to New York to speak in person at the UN general assembly next month to consider giving a video address instead.

A note from the US mission sent to the 192 other UN member nations also called for all other UN-hosted meetings and side events to be virtual, saying these parallel meetings that draw travellers to New York “needlessly increase risk [from Covid] to our community, New Yorkers and the other travellers.”

Trade unions representing parliamentary staff have urged the Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, to take action to ensure MPs wear face masks in the chamber.

MPs were sitting shoulder to shoulder in the Commons yesterday, with some wearing face coverings but many – including prime minister Boris Johnson and health secretary Sajid Javid – were not.

Unions will not stand by while staff are put at risk by reckless politicians and following this shameful episode we are once again asking the speaker to take a tougher line with MPs when Parliament returns next month.

There seems to be an increasing political polarisation. From the scenes in the Commons, with the Conservatives not wearing masks and, on the Labour benches, everyone wearing masks, I think that just illustrates very starkly the politicisation of this issue, which really should not be a political topic.

I think what was evident in those crowded conditions in the House of Commons, clearly fell into the guidance which is being given by the government, which is that you should wear masks in crowded spaces.

Related: Ministers accused of putting staff at risk by not wearing masks in Commons

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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