BRAZIL: Rio de Janeiro’s top samba schools began putting on their delayed Carnival parades late Friday, the first after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19-pandemic.
The schools colorful floats and flamboyant dancers began entering the Sambadrome grounds to parade before tens of thousands of fans on the first evening of the two-night spectacle. Rio’s Sambadrome has been home to the parade since the 1980s, and is a symbol of Brazil’s Carnival festivities. During the pandemic, it was a shelter for more than 400 homeless people and also served as a vaccination station. Brazil confirmed its first cases of the coronavirus in mid-March 2020, just after that year’s Carnival festivities came to an end. The 2021 edition was swiftly cancelled due to the rise of the delta variant. More than 663,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Brazil, the second highest of any country in the world, according to Our World in Data, an online research site. – JAPAN TODAY