Coronavirus in Brazil: for the first time in a hundred years Rio de Janeiro will not have its famous carnival

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The new virus makes this great party impossible in one of the countries in the world most affected by the pandemic,

For the first time in a hundred years, there will be no carnival parades in Rio de Janeiro in 2021. The new coronavirus makes this great party impossible in Brazil, one of the countries in the world most affected by the pandemic, whose outbreaks place several countries in Europe on the brink of a new confinement.

“We came to the conclusion that the event should be postponed. We cannot do it in February (…) The samba schools do not have the time or financial and organizational resources to be ready in February,” announced Jorge Castanheiras, president of the League Independent of Samba Schools (LIESA) that organizes the parades, famous throughout the world.

The news speaks for itself of the situation in a country of 210 million inhabitants that has registered 4.7 million infections and almost 140,000 deaths from covid-19, a death toll only surpassed by the United States.

According to data from the Ministry of Health, in the last two weeks there are still an average of 735 deaths in the country and about 30,000 new infections every day.

The state of Rio de Janeiro is one of the areas most mourned by the disease. With 18,000 deaths from covid-19, if the state were a country, it would have the second highest mortality rate in the world, with 104 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.

In this context, the carnival parades, where thousands of people in costumes dance sweaty in a small space, acclaimed by a crowd gathered in the stands of the emblematic Sambadrome, are a nightmare for any epidemiologist.

It is not clear for now if all Rio carnival events will be suspended or just the parades.

The pandemic has revealed in Brazil the differences between its president, the far-right Jair Bolsonaro, and state and municipal authorities, who imposed confinement measures, which the president criticized for their dire economic impact.

Worldwide, the pandemic has caused nearly a million deaths since it appeared in China late last year. In addition, at least 32 million people have contracted the disease. They are official figures that are undoubtedly well below the real ones, because only a part of the cases are diagnosed.

In Europe, where there are already more than 227,000 deaths from covid-19, the alarm signals are multiplying before the explosion of infections, the increase in deaths and the critical situation of some hospitals. All this also coincides with the arrival of autumn, a more propitious terrain for all viruses.

On Thursday, the European Union authorities considered the adoption of new restriction and protection measures urgent.

“Perhaps it is the last chance to avoid a repeat of the situation of last spring,” said Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, estimating that the situation is “really worrying.”

In countries like Spain, France or the United Kingdom, the restrictions increase.

On Thursday night, the famous pubs in England and Wales, in the United Kingdom, had to close at 10:00 p.m., in compliance with the curfew imposed by the government to stop the pandemic, which leaves about 6,000 new infections daily in these days.

At “Prince George”, a pub in a lively London neighborhood, patrons took philosophically what they consider “ridiculous” and “too late” measures. The United Kingdom is the country most affected in Europe by the pandemic, with almost 42,000 deaths.

“I don’t think it will help, it’s too late,” Joyce, a regular customer, told AFP.


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