MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian anti-doping agency RUSADA said on Wednesday it would progressively resume testing later this month hiatusafter having imposed a hiatus in response to government measures aimed at curbing the spread of the new coronavirus.

Speaking at an online news conference, Yuri Ganus, the agency’s director general, said RUSADA had elaborated a plan to resume testing, which it had halted in late March.

“We are now waiting for the latest recommendations by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA),” Ganus said. “We will begin testing work from the last ten days of May.”

Doping control officers will wear personal protective gear when testing resumes to protect themselves and the athletes, Victoria Barinova, head of RUSADA’s testing department, said at the online press conference.

Moscow and several other regions have declared lockdowns to stem the spread of the coronavirus, which has so far infected 165,929 people across Russia. The country has recorded 1,537 deaths from the virus.

RUSADA was suspended in 2015 after WADA found evidence of mass doping in Russian athletics.

The agency was conditionally reinstated in September 2018, but was declared non-compliant late last year after WADA found Moscow had provided it with doctored laboratory data.

Russia is in the process of appealing a four-year ban on its athletes competing at major international sporting events under their flag as punishment for that alteration of laboratory data.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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