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Miss World 2021 postponed amid COVID-19 outbreak; Belize’s Markeisha Young in quarantine and safe

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Posted: Saturday, December 18, 2021. 7:03 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The ILS Phoenix Foundation, managers of the Miss World Belize agency, have reported that Miss World Belize Markeisha Young “is safe” and is awaiting the result of a COVID-19 test.

According to CNN, this year’s Miss World competition, which was scheduled to have taken place Thursday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, has been postponed after multiple people linked to the event — including 23 of the 97 contestants — tested positive for COVID-19.

The Foundation further reported on Friday that Young is in quarantine along with fellow candidates for 10 days they can go home. It expressed thanks to the Miss World Organization for taking care of the delegates, noting that they will be spending Christmas together in San Juan, where the pageant will be held sometime in the next three months. Of Young it boasted, “We are immensely proud…She has been representing Belize well.”

Organizers announced the postponement just hours before start time, said CNN. They cited the “health and safety interest of contestants, staff, crew and general public.”

At a Puerto Rico Health Department press conference Thursday, 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 reported that “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.”

In one of several preliminary competitions, Ivory Coast’s Olivia Yacé was named winner of the pageant’s Top Model portion. This week, Mongolian representative Burte-Ujin Anu won the Miss World Talent content and Mexico’s Karolina Vidales was named Miss World Sports.

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 the pandemic, meaning that 2019’s winner, Jamaica’s Toni-Ann Singh, remains the reigning titleholder.

Young aims to succeed her and win Belize’s second major international pageant title in succession after Destiny Wagner’s history-making win in the Miss Earth contest a few weeks ago.

 

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