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COVID-19 viewed as only threat to 2021 IIHF World Championship in Riga — organizers

As of today, Latvia is ranked 86th in the world in terms of reported COVID-19 cases, which currently stands at over 128,680

RIGA, May 18. /TASS/. Organizers of the 2021 IIHF (the International Ice Hockey Federation) World Championship in the Latvian capital of Riga view COVID-19 pandemic as an only obstacle in the way to hosting the tournament this month, Aigars Kalvitis, the president of the Latvian Ice Hockey Federation (LHF), told TASS on Tuesday.

"We have two hotels accommodating all national teams, referees and the accompanying staff, which is related to the organization of the tournament," Kalvitis said in an interview with TASS.

"All of them will be completely isolated from the outside world, banned from taking walks in the city and will be provided with two-way bus rides to hosting arenas," the LHF chief continued.

"We are employing extremely strict anti-COVID-19 regulations here, because the risk of the novel coronavirus spread could turn into the major cause to disrupt the championship," he added.

As of today, Latvia is ranked 86th in the world in terms of reported COVID-19 cases, which currently stands at over 128,680. A total of over 2,280 people died of the novel coronavirus infection, while up to 117,800 recovered from the illness.

The 2021 Ice Hockey Championship will be hosted by the Latvian capital of Riga between May 21 and June 6. The championship will be played at two venues in Riga.

The main venue will be the Arena Riga and it will host Group B, two quarter-final games, the semi-final round and the medal round. The second venue will be the Olympic Sports Centre, which will be converted into a 6,000-capacity ice rink and will host Group A and two quarter-final games. All 16 participating teams will be housed in one hotel.

The Russian national team has been placed in Group A alongside the national teams from Sweden, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Slovakia, Denmark, Belarus and Great Britain. Group B lists the teams from Canada, Finland, the United States, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Italy and Kazakhstan.