Miss World 2021 had to be delayed after a COVID-19 outbreak was reported at the venue, the organisers announced in a press release. Even though the identities of those who tested positive for the virus remain unclear, Puerto Rican health authorities said that at least 17 were diagnosed with the disease.

Lisdian Acevedo, the spokesperson for Puerto Rico‘s health department told local newspaper Primera Hora that a day before the event was delayed, “there was talk of seven” people testing positive. However, the number later went up to 17.

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The spokesperson further added that the number consisted of the event crew and the contestants of the Miss World 2021 competition. All those who have been infected with COVID have also been vaccinated against the disease, India Times reported citing Acevedo.

Julia Morley, the chairwoman of the Miss World competition told Primera Hora, “Knowing the seriousness of this global situation that we all face, we took steps to capture the unique talent of each contestant so that, in case they couldn’t join us, they could still win the crown as Miss World 2021. The panel of judges will review your pre-recorded video content to make their final decision”, media reports suggest.

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The press release from the Miss World pageant said that the event will be rescheduled at “Puerto Rico Coliseum Jose Miguel Agrelot within the next 90 days.”

It further clarified that medical experts have recommended steps like isolation, expanded testing and observation should be taken at the venue to limit the spread of the virus. The staff and contestants linked to the event will be sent back to their home countries “Once and only when contestants and staff are cleared by health officials and advisors”, the press release said.