Rio de Janeiro postpones Carnival parades as Omicron cases spike Photograph:( Twitter )
The parade is a major tourist attraction for Rio. Tens of thousands of audience watch the parade live while tens of millions of people watch it from home
As coronavirus cases are increasing in Brazil, the carnival festivities in Rio de Janeiro have been postponed. They will now be held in late April and not the final weekend of February.
Rio and Sao Paulo, in a statement, 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 vaccination throughout the country."
The parade is a major tourist attraction for Rio. Tens of thousands of audience watch the parade live while tens of millions of people watch it from home.
Earlier, Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro had downplayed the Omicron coronavirus variant amid a rise in hard-hit Brazil. He further ruled out containment measures while defending herd immunity through widespread illness.
Bolsonaro said the Omicron strain that is causing a surge in Covid cases at home and abroad could be called a "vaccine virus" and is a "welcome" variant. Even when the Omicron variant made landfall in the country, causing cases to spike above 70,000 per day, he swore not to allow his daughter to take the shot and promised to continue fighting lockdowns.
(With inputs from agencies)