Miss World 2021: Competition postponed after 23 of 97 contestants test positive for Covid-19

This year’s Miss World competition, scheduled to take place Thursday in Puerto Rico, has been postponed after multiple people linked to the event — including 23 of the 97 contestants tested positive for Covid-19.

In a statement released hours before the pageant was due to start, organizers said they were rescheduling the televised finale, citing the “health and safety interest of contestants, staff, crew and general public.”

Malaysia’s representatives confirmed that their contestant, Lavanya Sivaji, was among those to test positive. In a statement posted to social media Thursday, the Miss World Malaysia organization said that Sivaji was in isolation but “clinically well.”

Miss World Indonesia, Pricilia Carla Yules, meanwhile appeared to confirm reports that she had tested positive, writing on Instagram stories that she is “currently in recovery” and “feeling much better physically and mentally.”

At a Puerto Rico Health Department press conference, epidemiologist Melissa Marzán told reporters there had been 38 positive cases associated with Miss World: 15 staff and 23 contestants. She confirmed that pageant organizers, not the island’s authorities, made the decision to postpone.

The Miss World Organization said that the finale will be rearranged and held within the next 90 days.

“As of (Wednesday), additional safety measures were 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,” read a statement posted to the official Miss World social media channels. “However, after additional positive cases were confirmed this morning (and) 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. Once and only when contestants and staff are cleared by health officials and advisers, will contestants and related staff return to their home countries.

Thursday’s finale would have marked the culmination of weeks of Miss World events in Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan.

Miss World 2021, the 70th edition of the annual event, was due to be hosted by English singer and TV personality Peter Andre, Puerto Rican model Stephanie Del Valle and Mexican singer and actor Fernando Allende. Last year’s pageant was canceled due to pandemic, meaning that 2019’s winner, Jamaica’s Toni-Ann Singh, remains the reigning titleholder.