Rio de Janeiro Carnival postponed indefinitely due to Corona

The famous Rio de Janeiro carnival has joined the series of global events toppled by the Covid-19 epidemic, with the organizers announcing the postponement of the next edition of the event, which was scheduled to take place in February 2021, indefinitely.

"We have come to the conclusion that the event should be postponed," Jorge Castaniera, president of the Autonomous Association of Samba Schools in Rio de Janeiro (LESA), which organizes the annual event, told reporters.

"We simply cannot do it in February. The samba schools will not have the time or the financial and organizational resources to be ready in February," he added.

Signs of such a decision have appeared since July, when five of the 12 Samba schools confirmed their intention to request the event to be postponed in the event that a vaccine against Covid-19 was not available by the end of September.

"This is not a cancellation but a postponement. We are looking for an alternative solution, something that we can do when the requirements of health security allow us to make our contribution to the city (...) but we do not have sufficient guarantees to set a date," Castaniera said.

The Lisa decision applies to the main official event at the Carnival, the Samba Schools competition that takes place on the famous Sambodromo Avenue. Each school participates in a march in which about three thousand people participate in spectacular costumes and dance and sing together without any distance between them along the entire procession, in an event that lasts for more than an hour.

However, the municipal authorities did not disclose whether they would allow the holding of street parties accompanying the event. The Rio de Janeiro Carnival consists of a large number of parades of these "masses", which are gatherings that fill the city streets, dancing and singing in a festive atmosphere full of musical performances.

In the eyes of epidemiologists, these celebrations pose a great danger, due to the great closeness between the participants and the large crowds that exist at the place. Every year, millions of people from Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian regions, as well as tourists from around the world, participate.

The announcement issued by samba schools falls in the context of the wave of cancellations of major events, in light of the widespread spread of the new Corona virus in Brazil, which has become the second country in the world after the United States in terms of the number of deaths resulting from the epidemic, with about 140 thousand deaths due to the virus that infected about 4.7 million people in the country.

The epidemic in the giant South American country is witnessing a relative slowdown compared to the higher levels recorded in July, but in the last two weeks, a prevalence rate of about 30 thousand new infections per day and 735 new deaths was recorded, according to the figures issued by the Ministry of Health.

Rio de Janeiro is the second Brazilian state worst-affected by the virus, after Sao Paulo.

The organizers of the Sao Paulo Carnival also announced on July 24 the postponement of next year's edition of the event, including street gatherings.

The Sao Paulo Carnival is among the most important events of its kind in Brazil, and its latest edition attracted 120,000 people who came to watch the shows of samba schools on Anhembi Avenue, while the street rallies attracted more than 15 million people, according to the city's mayor, Bruno Covas.

No new date has been set for the carnival, but it may happen "at the end of May or early July" 2021, according to what the mayor of the city, which has 12 million people, announced at the time.

 

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