The United Nations on Wednesday decided that world leaders will not travel to New York to attend the annual meeting of the General Assembly in September amid the coronavirus crisis and can instead submit recorded messages, Reuters reported. This will be the first time in the history of the UN that leaders would not gather for the meeting.

The General Assembly meeting to mark the 75th anniversary of the UN will take place on September 21. The General Debate of the 75th session of the Assembly, meanwhile, will begin from September 22.

“Each Member State, observer State and the European Union can submit a pre-recorded statement of its Head of State, Vice-President, Crown Prince or Princess, Head of Government, Minister or Vice-Minister, which will be played in the General Assembly Hall ... after introduction by their representative who is physically present,” the UN General Assembly said.

General Assembly President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande also told the member states that they should move all events traditionally held alongside the high-level meeting to virtual platforms.

The UN General Assembly also expressed concern over the global coronavirus situation and the “limitations recommended on meetings” of the global body.

In May, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had suggested a small gathering in New York due to coronavirus risks.

US has reported 3,9,70,906 coronavirus cases and 1.43 lakh deaths so far, making it the worst-hit country in the world. Globally, the virus has infected more than 1.5 crore people and claimed over 6.23 lakh lives.