Rio de Janeiro postpones Carnival parades as Covid cases increase in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro’s world-famous Carnival is being postponed as the number of coronavirus cases in Brazil soars.

The South American country has seen an increase in Covid-19 cases since the start of the year due to the highly contagious omicron variant, prompting officials to postpone the Carnival parade to the end of April instead of the last weekend. end of February.

“The decision was made based on the current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic in Brazil and the need, at this time, to preserve lives and to work together to promote vaccination across the country,” said one. The announcement was made Friday by the cities of Rio and Sao Paulo, which also delayed the start of Carnival parades until April 21.

Carnival was delayed after Brazil reported a new record daily number of Covid-19 infections. At least 137,103 new cases were reported on Tuesday as omicron became the dominant variant in the country. The previous record was reported on June 23 when the daily number of new cases reached 115,228.

The death toll also increased, to 351 people reported on Tuesday, the highest number since mid-November.

The mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes and his Sao Paulo counterpart, Ricardo Nunes, held a video call with their health secretaries and the federation of samba schools of each city participating in the parade. operating on Friday.

Members of the samba school rehearse for the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro on January 16. Lucas Landau / Reuters

Paes said his city’s street parties, some of which draw hundreds of thousands of partygoers, won’t go the way they did before the pandemic, but did not say they might. out in any shape.

Brazil has now registered more than 23.5 million cases since the pandemic began in 2020, while officially the death toll has passed 622,000, according to NBC News ‘tally.

Related press and Reuters contribute. Rio de Janeiro postpones Carnival parades as Covid cases increase in Brazil

Jake Nichol

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