Rio de Janeiro has canceled its iconic Carnival festival for the second straight year, due to the COVID-19 Omicron surge in Brazil.
In a YouTube livestream Tuesday, Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said the nature of Carnival makes it impossible to control the potential spread of the virus.
“The street carnival, by its very nature, due to the democratic aspect it has, makes it impossible to exercise any kind of inspection,” he said.
The threat from the surge in COVID-19 cases is too great to risk the event, he said.
Paes said there were meetings with people from the blocos, who organize street parties in Rio, to inform them of the cancellation.
The Sapucai carnival, a parade by samba schools in Rio, will go ahead as planned. People watch those parades from stands at Marques de Sapucaí Sambadrome stadium.
Paes said health protocols will be in place for that event.
Brazil’s health ministry Tuesday reported 18,759 new COVID-19 cases and 175 deaths.