Rio de Janeiro's annual New Year's Eve beach bash, already reduced in scope and format, has been canceled due to the raging coronavirus pandemic, the mayor's office said Tuesday.
What is normally a mega-party with live music, a dazzling display of fireworks and hundreds of thousands of people dancing to live music had already been drastically downsized, with the fireworks canceled and several events moved online.
Mayor Marcelo Crivella's office said in a statement that it had opted to cancel the event out of respect for all of the victims, and to prioritize security for all.
Some 180,000 people have died of Covid-19 in Brazil, population 212 million. It is the world's second highest death toll after the United States, and virus cases are on the rise.
Rio de Janeiro has the highest ratio of Covid-19 victims of any Brazilian state.
Canceling the New Year event is a decision necessary for the protection of all. The party will be to hope for good results from the vaccine, Crivella said in the statement.
Officials also canceled the city's 2021 Carnival event, normally held in late February, although they left open the possibility of having a later off-season event if the vaccination campaign is successful.