Barranquilla carnival launch cancelled with Omicron surge

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With sharp increases in daily Covid-19 infections since the Omicron variant was detected in Colombia on December 20, 2021, one of the country’s most famous cultural events, the Barranquilla Carnival, will still take place in February, but many of the outdoor parades could be cancelled given that the fourth wave is expected to peak during the same month. The most iconic events of the Carnaval de Barranquilla, inscribed in 2008 by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, take place from February 26 to March 1.

Barranquilla Mayor Jaime Pumarejo did, however, confirm that the opening event of Carnaval, the so-called Lectura del Bando (Reading of the Sash), scheduled for January 22, will be cancelled as well as concerts and pre-carnival festivities. “Barranquilla is not in the same circumstances as it was one or two years ago,” he noted, adding that the city’s hospital capacity and ICU infrastructure has expanded.

Barranquilla has seen an increase in omicron cases during the last 20 days, although cases are still lower than those in Bogotá, Medellín or Cali. “Our committee of health experts will continue to evaluate the situation, and we will take the necessary measures if there is any abrupt change,” he said. Vaccination coverage in the capital of Atlántico is 97% with persons with one dose and 66% for residents who have completed their scheme, numbers currently higher than the national averages.

Colombia has been averaging 27,000 per day cases during the last week, raising the total number of active cases in the country to 160,046. During the first week of December, active cases stood just above 12,000. On Wednesday, the country added 29,857 cases to the national tally, and 69 deaths. The death toll during almost years of the pandemic is 130,529.