ROC's players wore masks at Beijing 2022 in the first two periods against Canada before taking them off for the final 20 minutes but now put them back on again for their quarter-final against Switzerland ©Getty Images

The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) women’s ice hockey have been hit by a further COVID-19 case, with head coach Evgeniy Bobariko admitting his players would be prepared to play in masks in their upcoming quarter-final at the Winter Olympics here.

Maria Pechnikova has been forced to miss tomorrow’s last-eight meeting with Switzerland after becoming latest ROC player to test positive for COVID-19.

According to Russia’s official state news agency TASS, Bobariko said Pechnikova was asymptomatic but have been taken an isolation hotel.

Bobariko also confirmed that Oleg Sosina and Ekaterina Nikolaeva, who had tested positive for coronavirus upon arrival in Beijing, had been released from quarantine after recovering from the virus.

Diana Farkhutdinova, Angelina Goncharenko, Liana Ganeeva and Lyudmila Belyakova also contracted COVID-19 before the ROC’s opening match against Switzerland.

It was later reported that Victoria Kulishova and Elena Dergacheva also tested positive for COVID-19.

Players from both Finland and Canada wore masks when they faced the ROC in the preliminary rounds due to fears for their health.

Maria Pechnikova has become the latest ROC ice hockey player to test positive for COVID-19 ©Getty Images
Maria Pechnikova has become the latest ROC ice hockey player to test positive for COVID-19 ©Getty Images

The ROC team wore masks in the first two periods against Canada before taking them off for the final 20 minutes after receiving their delayed COVID-19 test results.

But Bobariko admitted his players would be willing to put the masks on again when they take on Switzerland.

"We will play in masks if they say," said Bobariko.

"We are preparing for any situation."

Sosina is expected to return to training today following her recovery from COVID-19 as preparations ramp up for the ROC’s match against Switzerland.

"[Yesterday] we had 15 field players," said Bobariko.

"We analyzed how quickly the girls got tired in the match using our sensors, and decided to let our two defenders rest today.

"Of course, we will recruit people for the application for the match, do not hesitate.

"We are already passing tests on the ground in the rooms, everyone was settled one at a time, everyone is engaged in physical training in the rooms.

"We live in such conditions, and our job is to play hockey."

Former International Ice Hockey Federation President René Fasel told TASS that he was "very surprised" when he saw players complete in masks, describing the situation as "nonsense".

Swiss Olympic has confirmed that men's ice hockey player Denis Malgin has left isolation and returned to the Athletes' Village after producing two negative COVID-19 tests in the space of 24 hours.

But Swiss Olympic said Malgin would "continue to isolate himself in his room away from training and games" having been deemed as a "close contact".

"Swiss Olympic and Swiss Ice Hockey are very happy that Denis Malgin is back with the delegation in the Olympic Village and hope that national players Dario Simion and national player Lisa Rüedi can end their isolation as soon as possible," a statement from Swiss Olympic added.

Switzerland are due to face the Czech Republic in Group B today.

Beijing 2022 today registered doubles figures in COVID-19 cases for the first time in four days with 11 reported.

A total of 121 athletes and team officials arrived in Beijing yesterday, with two of those testing positive for coronavirus at the airport.

Five cases were also confirmed among athletes and teams officials within the closed-loop where four other Games participants tested positive.

Beijing 2022 has reported more 418 cases linked to the Winter Olympics since January 23.