July 22, 2020 / 3:26 PM / 22 days ago

Ukraine to open stadiums for fans in 'test mode'

FILE PHOTO: President of Ukrainian Football Federation Andriy Pavelko attends a news conference at the headquarters of National Police in Kiev, Ukraine May 22, 2018. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko/File Photo

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine will let spectators return for soccer matches up to a quarter of stadia capacity after a three-month pause due to the coronavirus, a senior sports official said on Wednesday.

Ukraine has eased restrictions since May to help the economy, but the government has still been extending the lockdown monthly, requiring people to wear masks and adhere to strict norms in public places.

Ukrainian Football Association head Andriy Pavelko said on Facebook that the health minister “has just approved the admission of spectators in a test mode at matches which will take place on July 25 and 29.”

Stadia could be 25% full, with a possibility to move up to 50% if the tests go well, he said, citing government guidelines.

There was no immediate confirmation from the ministry.

Ukraine has had almost 61,000 coronavirus cases and 1,534 deaths - relatively low numbers compared to western European counterparts. But infections have spiked in recent weeks.

Ukrainian clubs restarted playing from May 30 without fans.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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