Berlin, 22 January 2021 (dpa/MIA) – Carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil have been completely cancelled this year due to a slow start to the Covid-19 vaccination campaign and persistently high infections.
An initially planned pushback of the festival from February to July was not feasible, the mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, said on Thursday.
“It makes no sense to me at the moment to believe we will have the conditions to organize the carnival in July,” Paes wrote on Twitter.
While he said he was aware of the economic importance of the carnival for the city – it attracts millions of tourists each year – it was impossible to go ahead with the enormous preparations required, Paes said.
“Certainly in 2022 we (all properly vaccinated) will celebrate life and our culture with all the intensity we deserve,” Paes wrote.
The carnival traditionally takes places in different cities across Brazil in February.
The carnival in Rio is one of the most famous, with parades of local samba schools, which had already announced their themes for the planned July date.
In a statement, the association of samba schools in Rio (LIESA) manifested its “support and comprehension” regarding the mayor’s decision to push the celebrations back further.
Brazil is one of the countries that has been hit hardest by the pandemic and only started its vaccination campaign on Monday.
More than 8.6 million people have been infected with the coronavirus in Brazil – third worldwide behind the United States and India – and 214,000 patients have died from Covid-19.