Rio de Janeiro’s carnival parade, due to be held next February, has been postponed indefinitely, organizers say.

The samba schools involved in the parade had previously warned that it might be difficult to organize without a vaccine. Rio’s carnival attracts many visitors every year.

Brazil has been one of the countries worst affected by the pandemic with 4.5 million infections and more than 138,000 deaths.

Jorge Castanheira, president of the samba league Liesa said schools wouldn’t have time to prepare or organize for the February event.

“We are trying to find an alternate solution, something we will do when it’s safe to contribute to the city. But we aren’t sure enough to line a date,” he said.

The announcement applies to Liesa’s formal carnival event but doesn’t apply to the local road parties that happen at a similar time. It is currently unclear if those will be allowed to take place.

There is concern that the economic impact of Brazil’s delayed carnivals which might hit families who depend upon the events for income. Tourism represents about 8% of Brazil’s GDP.

The carnival parade has already behind his schedule by eight months until October 2021. Brazil registering thousands of new infections every day. On Thursday the country recorded 32,817 cases and 831 deaths.

At the opening of the UN Assembly earlier in the week, President Jair Bolsonaro rejected criticism of his handling of the pandemic.

In his recorded speech, he blamed the media for causing panic and politicizing the pandemic.

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