Russia allows foreign athletes to enter when coronavirus cases exceed 280,000

MOSCOW: The Russian government said on Sunday that it would allow foreign athletes competing in their national sports leagues to enter the country as the number of cases in the novel coronavirus 280,000 passed.

Russia closed its borders in March to foreigners and international flights to land, except for those that repatriated the Russians or returned the foreigners to their home country, in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.

The government said athletes and coaches under contract with a Russian sports organization would be subject to medical observation and forced to spend two weeks in quarantine upon their return to the country.

The decision will help professional sports organizations, including football clubs in the Russian Premier League , to resume training after the easing of measures linked to the spread of the coronavirus, the government said in a statement.

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the Russian football union said on Friday the country's top professional soccer league would resume matches on June 21 after having suspended the season in mid-March because of the coronavirus.

President Vladimir Putin He said this week that it was time to gradually lift the national restrictions that had forced many people to work from their homes and businesses to temporarily shut down.

Russia's coronavirus task force said on Sunday it had recorded 9,709 new cases of the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the nationwide tally to 281,752, the second highest in the world after the United States.

Ninety-four people died overnight, bringing the death toll to 2,631, authorities said.