Coronavirus in Brazil: the Rio carnival threatened

(Rio de Janeiro) Several samba schools at the Rio de Janeiro carnival have decided that they will not participate in the festivities in February 2021, unless a coronavirus vaccine will not be available by then, a Brazilian daily announced on Tuesday.

France Media Agency

Mangueira, Imperatriz Leopoldinense, Vila Isabel, Beija-Flor and São Clemente, five of the 12 main schools, have announced daily O Globo they were going to vote for a postponement sine die parades at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday.

“It's simple, if the vaccine does not arrive (in time), there will be no samba. How can we gather crowds without collective immunity? “Said Sao Clemente president Renatinho Gomes.

The mayor of Salvador de Bahia, where these festivities also attract thousands of tourists, proposed to postpone the carnival throughout the country in April or June, but the directors of samba schools remain skeptical.

“Without a vaccine, it is impossible to organize the carnival, whatever the date, in February or June”, explained Fernando Fernandes, president of Vila Isabel, who fears that a court decision cancels the festivities at the last minute.

“We risk making heavy investments and seeing the contamination curve go up later, which could lead the justice system to suspend” the parades, he added.

At the Rio Carnival, one of the biggest popular festivals in the world, the sumptuous parades of samba schools and their monumental floats at the Sambodrome attract thousands of tourists from all over the world.

Each school marches with nearly 3000 costumed members, dancing very close to each other and singing along the procession, which lasts a little over a hour.

” How are we going to do this ? With a distance of two meters between the dancers? Anyone sing with a mask? “Wonders Fernando Fernandes.

“What would be the weight on the conscience of a leader who would see around fifty members of his school die after having marched? “Adds Elias Riche, president of Mangueira.

In the State of Rio, the latest report from the Ministry of Health shows more than 132 000 infected persons and 11 474 dead, but the curve of daily deaths has been declining for several weeks, 59 having been recorded in the last 24 hours.

The deconfinement started gradually, with the reopening of shops and restaurants, even if the schools remain closed.

Two of the most advanced vaccines under development in the world are to be tested on several thousand volunteers in Brazil and the most optimistic forecasts are for approval by the end of the year and vaccinations start 2021.