The annual carnival, which draws millions of tourists to Rio de Janeiro, is not held at the usual time, in February. Carnival organizers announced the local time on Thursday night.

– This is not a cancellation, it is a postponement. We are looking for an alternative solution, something we can do when it is safe. But we are not sure enough to say the date, the chairman of LIESA, the organization of the samba schools that organize the parades. Jorge Castanheira commented.

LIESA met and stated that it is not possible to hold an event at a pre-arranged time if there is no vaccine by then.

The event includes numerous events, the most famous of which is the Samba School Paradise, which is seen walking along the streets of Rio. In addition, there are street parties and other events around the city. The postponement concerns the main event, but according to the news agency AFP, the city of Rio has not announced, at least for the time being, whether other events normally associated with the carnival will be allowed.

The cancellation of the Rio Carnival is a major blow to the local economy. Tourism is a major industry in Brazil, accounting for an estimated 8 percent of GDP.

Brazil is one of the worst affected by the coronavirus in the world. A total of 4.7 million infections have been diagnosed, the most after the United States and India.

The rate of infection has slowed slightly from its peak in July, but is still alarmingly high. Within two weeks, new infections have entered an average of 200 per hundred thousand inhabitants. There are 30,000 new infections a day and more than 700 deaths.

Rio is the worst infected area after Sao Paulo. They are also the largest cities in the country. More than 12 million people live in the Rio metropolitan area and more than 21.5 million in Sao Paulo.

Two out of three can become infected

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the effects of the epidemic and the virus itself and opposed all sorts of restrictions, arguing that they would be a disaster for the economy. He himself contracted the virus in July and spent three weeks in solitary confinement. Last May, the prestigious peer-reviewed medical magazine The Lancet called Bolsonaro the biggest threat in the battle for the coronavirus in Brazil.

There is also a tragically interesting example of what happens if nothing is done to prevent the virus from spreading. The city of Manaus, with a population of less than a couple of million, was first infected in March. Four months ago, the number of infections peaked. Sales of coffins were five times higher than a year ago.

Then, suddenly and unpredictably, the incidence of new infections collapsed. This is because, according to an as yet unreported study, the virus simply no longer has people to infect. Based on antibody research, up to 66 percent of the city’s population is infected. Fortunately for the Manaus, the population is quite young, with only six percent over the age of 60.