RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil: Due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Brazil and the spread of the Omicron variant, the world-famous carnival festivities in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will be held on 21st April, instead of the final weekend of February.
In a joint statement issued on January 21, the cities of Rio and Sao Paulo said, "The decision was made respecting for the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil and the need, at this time, to preserve lives and join forces to drive vaccinations throughout the country."
According to the statement, Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes and Sao Paulo mayor Ricardo Nunes held a video call, along with their respective health secretaries and each city's league of samba schools participating in the parade.
Rio's raucous street parties, which draw hundreds of thousands of revelers, would not proceed in the manner they did before the pandemic, Paes said.
He added that the samba schools' parades through the Sambadrome would proceed as planned, in light of the relative ease with which vaccination status and negative coronavirus tests could be checked upon entry.
The parade through the Sambadrome is a major tourist attraction for Rio and the central fixture of the city's pre-Lenten party, attracting tens of thousands of spectators and tens of millions of viewers watching from home.