Rio de Janeiro: Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes has announced the cancellation of this year’s carnival due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I have never hidden my passion for Carnival and the clear vision I have of the economic importance this cultural expression has for our city. However, it seems pointless to me to imagine that we will have the conditions to hold Carnival in July,” Xinhua news agency quoted Paes as saying in a statement on Thursday.
The carnival was originally scheduled for February 13-16, but was postponed to the middle of the year due to the pandemic.
“This celebration requires a great deal of preparation on the part of public organs and the guilds and institutions linked to samba. Something impossible to do at this moment,” Paes said.
However, the Mayor assured that if mass vaccination against COVID-19 works, in 2022, “we will be able (all properly vaccinated) to celebrate life and our culture with all the intensity we deserve”.
The Rio de Janeiro Carnival is considered the world’s largest open-air party, attracting millions of people annually, both Brazilians and foreigners.
It consists of hundreds of troupes playing music in the streets followed by large crowds, and the traditional parade of samba schools in the Sambodromo.
Brazil, one of the hardest-hit countries, currently accounts for the third highest Covid-19 caseload in the world and the second largest death toll.
As of Friday morning, the country’s overall coronavirus cases and deaths stood at 8,697,368 and 214,147, respectively.