Dreaded Omicron Scuppers Miss World Pageant

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Omicron the new Covid-19 variant – thought to be more transmissible than previous variants – has scuppered the Miss World 2021 global broadcast of the finale in Puerto Rico.

“Miss World 2021 temporarily postpones global broadcast finale in Puerto Rico due to health and safety interest of contestants, staff, crew and general public,” said a statement released by the organisers on Thursday.

The edition was originally scheduled for the end of 2020 but was postponed due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The seemingly jinxed 70th edition of the Miss World competition was rescheduled to take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico on 16 December, however, the virus has again put paid to the hosting of the pageant.

“The finale will be rescheduled at Puerto Rico Coliseum Jose Miguel Agrelot within the next 90 days,” said the statement.

Shudufhadzo Musida, who was crowned Miss SA 2020, is representing South Africa at Miss World 2021.

Last week WHO Director General Tedros Ghebreyesus said Omicron has been reported in 57 countries, was the number of new cases was expected to continue growing.

Tedros highlighted “a consistent picture of rapid increase in transmission” but said that the exact rate of increase relative to other variants remains difficult to quantify. 

Omicron was first detected last month by scientists in South Africa, who then alerted the world the virus had mutated.

Organisers said as of yesterday, additional safety measures had been implemented in the best interest of the contestants, production team and spectators, understanding the event increased risks on the stage and in the dressing room.

“However, after additional positive cases were confirmed this morning after consulting with health officials and experts, the postponement decision was made.”

“The next step according to the medical experts is immediate quarantine, pending observation and further testing according to best practices in situations like this.”

Organisers said only after contestants and staff are cleared by health officials and advisors, will they return to their home countries.

“We are very much looking forward to the return of our contestants, (who we have grown to know and love), to compete for the Miss World crown” said Julia Morley, CEO of Miss World Ltd. Puerto Rico offers a safe environment and a spectacular backdrop for filming the Mis World Festival.”