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Queuing to save the world: Delegates head into COP26 summit venue

2 minute read

Peopke work during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) where world leaders discuss how to tackle climate change on a global scale, in Glasgow Scotland, Britain October 31, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman

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GLASGOW, Nov 1 (Reuters) - More than a thousand delegates queued for over an hour to attend Monday's opening speeches of the U.N. climate conference in Glasgow, wrapped up against Scotland's bitter winter winds and most wearing facemasks to halt the spread of COVID-19.

But social distancing was almost impossible as the crowd shuffled towards the entrance turnstiles for security checks and to show test results proving they had not contracted the coronavirus.

"We are lucky – at least it's not raining," said Tereze Koubkova of the Czech Republic delegation, as she waited outside the COP26 conference "blue zone" for government delegates, business leaders, NGO representatives and journalists.

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Amid the mass of people, a group of activists shouted slogans and blasted out an electronic music remix of activist Greta Thunberg's past speeches.

Delegates were required to submit negative results from daily COVID-19 tests before being allowed to enter the venue.

The U.S. delegation announced on Monday morning that President Joe Biden’s test was clear.

Some leaders arrived in Jaguar electric vehicles, setting the tone for a conference aimed at planning the shift away from fossil fuels. The leaders paused for photos on a grey carpet laid out in front of the blue COP26 logo backdrop before entering.

Overlooking the crowds near the venue, a girl held up a homemade banner from a hotel window urging delegates to save the planet - until adults in the room asked her to come away.

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Reporting by Mark John, Jake Spring and Ilze Filks; Writing by Katy Daigle; Editing by Edmund Blair

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