By Claire Gordon • 04 December 2021 • 15:59
The world-famous Rio New Year’s Eve celebrations have been cancelled for 2021 due to the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. The mayor of the Brazilian city, Eduardo Paes has announced the news on Twitter while noting that the decision was taken “with great sadness”, but that the organisers “respect the science”.
The new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, has now been found all across the globe after it was first sequenced and identified in South Africa. Latest official figures show Brazil registered 221 coronavirus deaths on Friday and 10,627 additional cases. The South American country has now registered a total of 615,400 coronavirus deaths and 22,129,409 confirmed cases.
Mr Paes has spoken of the differing opinions in the science world regarding the new strain but says they must listen and act accordingly. He said: “We respect science. As there are divergent opinions among scientific committees, we will always stick with the most restrictive.
“The city council says it can. The state says no. So it can’t. We’re going to cancel the official New Year’s Eve celebration in Rio in this way.”
He added: “I make the decision with sadness, but we cannot organise the celebration without the guarantee of all the health authorities. Unfortunately, we cannot organise a party of this size, in which we have a lot of expenses and logistics involved, without the minimum time for preparation.
“If this is the command of the State (this was not what the governor had been telling me), let’s accept it. I hope I can be in Copacabana hugging everyone from 22 to 23. It will be missed but the important thing is that we continue vaccinating and saving lives”, he said about the Rio New Year’s Eve.
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