News Rio de Janeiro beaches off limits on New Year’s Eve
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Rio de Janeiro beaches off limits on New Year’s Eve

People visit the Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in September during the height of the pandemic. Photo: EPA
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Brazilian authorities will close city beaches in Rio de Janeiro for New Year’s Eve to help stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The city council tweeted on Monday that access to the beaches would be blocked off.

Residents and workers in the affected areas will have to show documents proving that they are entitled to be there.

The new restrictions affect 30 kilometres of coastline between Leme and Pontal.

Last week, the city administration had already said it was shutting down Copacabana beach, traditionally the heart of Rio’s New Year’s celebrations.

Rio’s extravaganza attracts millions of tourists to the port city every year.

The fireworks, which are usually launched from rafts, have been cancelled this year. The planned virtual celebration at the turn of the year with a broadcast of concerts has also been shelved. No musicians, bands or DJs will perform on Copacabana beach.

Brazil is currently one of the hotspots of the coronavirus pandemic.

So far, more than 7.5 million coronavirus infections have been recorded in Brazil, the largest country in Latin America.

More than 191,000 patients have died in connection with COVID-19.

The state of Rio de Janeiro reported more than 420,000 coronavirus cases on Monday.