No bull: COVID-19 causes cancellation of San Fermin festival for 2nd straight year

For the second straight year, officials in Pamplona have called off Spain’s famed San Fermín bull-running festival, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Pamplona Mayor Enrique Maya said the nine-day festival, commonly known as the Running of the Bulls, had to be scrubbed because of the area’s low vaccination rate and continued high instances of COVID-19, Reuters reported.

“The festival cannot be organized overnight,” Maya said Monday during a news conference. “This is very hard. I never thought that this could happen.”

The festival, held annually in July, was popularized by Ernest Hemingway’s 1926 novel, “The Sun Also Rises,” according to The Associated Press. Until last year’s cancellation, the event had not been canceled in more than four decades, Reuters reported. The last time the event was canceled for two consecutive years was during the Spanish Civil War, which occurred from 1936 to 1939.

Spain’s health officials recorded just under 12,000 new cases on Friday, according to The Hill. Spain had three major outbreaks of COVID-19 since March 2020, and the country has recorded 3,496,134 cases of the virus, according to a database maintained by Johns Hopkins University. At least 77,500 people have died in Spain from COVID-19.

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