The world-famous Carnival festivities in Rio de Janeiro have been postponed as Brazil continues to deal with a surge in COVID-19 cases.
NBC News reports the country has dealt with an increase in coronavirus cases since the beginning of 2022 amid the worldwide omicron variant surge, which led to the decision to reschedule Carnival parades scheduled for the final weekend of February, to late April.
Brazil reported a record 131,103 new cases on Tuesday (January 18), surpassing the previous daily record of 115,228 set on June 23.
“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,” said a statement issued to NBC News Friday (January 21) jointly by Rio and Sao Paulo, which also delayed Carnival parades scheduled for its city until April 21.
Brazil has also seen an increase in the number of COVID related deaths, with 351 reported on Tuesday, the most in a single day since mid-November 2021.
Mayors Eduardo Paes (Rio) and Ricardo Nunes (Sao Paulo) spoke together in a video call alongside their cities' health secretaries and league of samba schools, which put on the popular Carnival parade, on Friday.
Paes said Sao Paulo's street parties -- which typically exceed hundreds of thousands of participants -- wouldn't proceed as they did prior to the ongoing pandemic, but didn't specify details of how they'd be held in the future.
Brazil has reported a total of 23.5 million COVID-19 cases and more than 622,000 coronavirus related deaths since March 2020, according to data by NBC News.