VOLGOGRAD, RUSSIA – NOVEMBER 26, 2018: Covering the pitch at Volgograd Arena Stadium ahead of the winter football season. Dmitry Rogulin/TASS Ðîññèÿ. Âîëãîãðàä. Âî âðåìÿ óêðûòèÿ ãàçîíà â ðàìêàõ ïîäãîòîâêè ñïîðòèâíîãî êîìïëåêñà ê ñëåäóþùåìó ôóòáîëüíîìó ñåçîíó. Äìèòðèé Ðîãóëèí/ÒÀÑÑ

VOLGOGRAD, April 2. /TASS/. Russia’s southern city of Volgograd will be lighting up the facade of its Volgograd Arena in the colors of the Russian and Italian national flags for three days in support of Italy’s COVID-19 victims, a spokesperson for the arena’s administration told TASS on Thursday.

“The colors of the Russian and Italian national flags will accentuate the Volgograd Arena’s night-time illumination,” the spokesperson said.

“In the course of three days, starting tonight at 8:00 p.m. local time [19:00 Moscow time], the stadium’s architectural facade will be projecting a special combination of illumination using these colors [of the national flags] as a sign of Russian citizens’ support for the people of Italian regions that were the hardest hit by the pandemic,” she added.

Italy is currently second country after the United States in terms of confirmed novel coronavirus cases, which exceed the figure of 110,570. The COVID-19 death toll in the country is over 13,150.

The 45,000-seat Volgograd Arena was built for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and hosted four group stage matches of the world football championship. Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad, is a city of over one million residents that is outstretched alongside the Volga River. The city and the surrounding areas were the scene of the fiercest battles of World War II and the Battle of Stalingrad is considered to be the turning point in the war.

In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus — named COVID-19 by the WHO — have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. To date, more than 950,000 people have been infected worldwide and over 48,000 deaths have been reported. That said, over 202,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.

So far, a total of 3,548 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 235 patients having recovered from the virus. The country’s latest data indicates 30 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.

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