Two renowned chess players have decided to withdraw from the Grand Swiss tournament in Riga, Latvia, due to the country's increasing number of COVID-19 cases.

According to CNN, the Latvian government recently announced a four-week lockdown that will end on Nov. 14 to help prevent the further spread of the deadly virus.

The new restrictions include a curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., as well as the closing of non-essential shops. Stores that sell essential goods will be open between 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Grand Swiss, Women's Grand Swiss will still push through

But despite the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the country, the International Chess Federation (FIDE) announced that the Grand Swiss and Women's Grand Swiss tournaments will still push through during the month-long lockdown.

However, a number of restrictions will also be put in place at the tournaments, which will be closed to the public. Only a few journalists will be permitted entry to cover the competition.

Some protocols include testing, special conditions under the emergency status in Latvia, safety precautions, transport and accommodation, travel to Latvia, and more, according to the official statement.

Players that will break the lockdown protocols may be disqualified or even terminated from the tournament.

But despite FIDE's decision to still push through with the competition, at least two players have already announced that they will be withdrawing from the Grand Swiss tournament.

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Two professional chess players bow out of the tournament

On Twitter, American grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura released a statement saying that he will be prioritizing his health, the health of his trainer, and the health of Latvians, that's why he bowed out of the competition.

Indian grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi initially tweed his concerns about traveling to Latvia amid the local government's restrictions. Shortly after, he also confirmed that he would no longer participate in the Grand Swiss tournament.

Latvia goes into month-long lockdown due to COVID-19

Recent reports revealed that Latvia has been struggling amid the rising cases of COVID-19 and low vaccination rates in the country.

Earlier this month, the government also declared a three-month emergency to stop the spread of the virus. Last week, it was confirmed that the incidence of COVID-19 has risen by a staggering 48 percent over the past couple of days.

The Latvian government decided to extend the school holidays until Oct. 29. Young students will return to school on Nov. 1, but older students will return to homeschooling.

An unnamed resident told the publication that he's been experiencing fatigue due to the virus and because he needs to wear a mask at work. Another local said that staying at home is most difficult because, as an athlete, he likes to go training.

Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins urged Latvians to get vaccinated against the virus. "I must call on all vaccinated people to be prepared to bear the burden, which I know is unfair. We need to do so because other people are unvaccinated. If we do not bear this burden, everyone will suffer," Karins said via Euro News.

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