Brazil’s Sao Paulo pushes back Carnival as cases keep soaring

FILE PHOTO: People walk at a popular shopping street amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Sao Paulo, Brazil, July 15, 2020. Picture taken July 15, 2020. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Sao Paulo, the biggest city in South America, postponed its 2021 Carnival celebrations on the same day that Formula One scrapped its next planned race here, underlying the enduring effects policymakers expect the coronavirus pandemic to have on Brazil.

Carnival, a traditional multi-day holiday known for its colorful parades and raucous revelry, takes places in hundreds of cities throughout Latin America’s largest nation.

While the celebrations, originally scheduled for February, are more traditionally associated with Rio de Janeiro and cities in the country’s northeast, Sao Paulo’s Carnival has grown significantly in recent years.

In a Friday news conference, Sao Paulo Mayor Bruno Covas said possible revised dates included late May and July. June was unlikely, he said, as the separate festival of Sao Joao do Nordeste is scheduled for that month.

Earlier in the day, Formula One officials scrapped the November 2020 race in Sao Paulo, along with the body’s three other stops in the Americas, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

Brazil registered another 1,156 coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Friday, bringing the total death toll to 85,238. There are now over 2.3 million confirmed cases in Brazil, making it one of the hardest hit nations in the world.

Reporting by Eduardo Simões; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Alistair Bell

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