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Russian Euro 2020 organisers ‘not afraid’ of coronavirus

Saint Petersburg (AFP) – Authorities in Saint Petersburg said Saturday they have taken the necessary health and safety measures ahead of co-hosting Euro 2020 matches as virus cases in the city continue to climb. 

Russia’s second city is set to host seven matches, including a quarter-final, in June and July after the tournament was postponed for a year due to the pandemic. 

“We are sure that we can provide all safety measures, we are not afraid,” head of the local organising committee, Alexei Sorokin, told journalists during a press event on Saturday.

According to the organisers, fans will be required to wear masks during the matches and will need a negative Covid test.

The city’s stadium, Gazprom Arena, will be filled at 50 percent capacity.

Earlier, Russia announced that foreign holders of Euro 2020 tickets will be allowed to enter the country without a visa.

On Friday, a government tally reported more than 800 new daily cases in Saint Petersburg for the first time since late March. 

The same day a temporary hospital for Covid patients that closed in February was put back into operation.

Russia has been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic with the sixth-highest number of cases in the world and imposed a strict lockdown when the pandemic first swept across the country last spring. 

Most measures were lifted within several months, with authorities opting to protect the struggling economy and pinning their hopes on curbing the outbreak with vaccines.

Although a mass vaccination campaign started in early December, ahead of most countries, Russia has struggled to innoculate its citizens.

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