The IFSC has sent a shipment of masks to China ©Getty Images

The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) has sent 10,000 breathing masks to China to help with the coronavirus crisis.

They have been delivered to the Chinese Mountaineering Association as a "small gesture of support", the governing body said.

IFSC member countries are now being encouraged to also do what they can to help.

"These items shall be distributed to those who are currently unable to access them, contributing to keeping the spread of the virus at bay," an IFSC statement said.

"The IFSC also reached out to its Member Federations, encouraging them to support the sport climbing community and the wider population of the People's Republic of China."

The outbreak, which originated in Chinese city Wuhan, has already forced the cancellation or postponement of numerous sporting events.

Three IFSC events which are due to be held in China in April – the Asian Championships and a World Cup in Chonqing, and a World Cup in Wujiang – are being monitored to see if they will go ahead.

These competitions are due to be part of the qualification pathway for sport climbing's Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

Sport climbing events in China in April are being monitored ©Getty Images
Sport climbing events in China in April are being monitored ©Getty Images

"First of all we would like to send our best wishes to those affected by the coronavirus and to those who are directly or indirectly suffering because of the epidemic," said IFSC President Marco Scolaris.

"At the same time, the health of our athletes and of all the people that work for our Member Federations is our main concern. 

"We all know that we have an obligation towards the International Olympic Committee and our Asian Council, we will make sure that the qualification system for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is respected, but we will also avoid any risk for anybody's health."

The World Health Organization has declared coronavirus as a global emergency.

More than 900 people have died and there are more than 40,000 cases in 28 countries and territories.

The vast majority of these are in China.