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Pamplona bull-running festival called off for second straight year

Pamplona bull-running festival called off for second straight year

The mayor of Pamplona, Spain, canceled the city's annual San Fermín Festival, also known famously as the Running of the Bulls, on Monday, citing ongoing concerns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enrique Maya told reporters that the region's low vaccination rate and continued high rates of the virus contributed to the need to suspend the festival for the second year in a row, according to multiple news reports.

“To my very despair, I’m forced to officially suspend the festival of San Fermin in 2021,” he said, according to a Reuters translation.

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“The festival cannot be organized overnight,” Maya added, according to The Associated Press. “This is very hard. I never thought that this could happen.”

Spain has seen its rate of new COVID-19 infections rise slightly over the month of April, though the rate remains far lower than during two previous waves the country experienced in the fall and late winter.

The country's health officials recorded just under 12,000 new cases on Friday, the most recent day for which data has been reported.

After becoming a hot spot for the virus last year, Spain has fallen behind other European countries, including France and the United Kingdom. It now has the ninth highest number of total recorded cases of any country in the world.