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Rio de Janeiro samba schools delay 2021 Carnival parade over coronavirus

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Samba schools in Rio de Janeiro decided on Thursday to delay Brazil’s most famous Carnival parade that would normally have been held in February 2021, as the country grapples with the second-deadliest coronavirus outbreak in the world.

Liesa, the independent samba league, did not give a new date for the festival, saying it would depend on a vaccine.

“It’s increasingly difficult to have Carnival without a vaccine,” Leisa President Jorge Castanheira told journalists. “There is no way to have Carnival without safety.”

Castanheira said the 2021 Carnival parade could only be delayed until January 2022 at most, so as not to interfere with the following year’s parade.

Brazil’s top 13 samba schools normally parade through the Sambadrome before up to 90,000 local residents, tourists and VIPs celebrating Carnival, with the date changing annually as the festival precedes the Roman Catholic period of Lent.

Reporting by Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing by Jake Spring; Editing by Peter Cooney

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