The Japan Open is among the events to be postponed ©Getty Images

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is suspending all activities until the end of April, it has been announced.

A statement from the governing body said the decision followed the declaration by the World Health Organization to declare coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, as a pandemic and the increased number of international travel restrictions.

The suspension of activities is provisional, with the ITTF saying the “the health and safety of athletes, coaches, officials and fans" is its top priority.

“The suspension comes into effect from Monday 16th March 2020 and relates to all ITTF sanctioned events, High Performance and Development activities and ITTF Foundation activities that had been due to start between the above date and the end of April 2020,” an ITTF statement read.

”The ITTF Executive Committee will hold an emergency meeting on Monday 16th March to discuss the situation further and an announcement will be made next week regarding the ITTF World Tour Hong Kong and China Opens.

“The ITTF has also recommended to all Continental Associations to follow the ITTF’s decision.”

A total of 26 table tennis events worldwide have either been postponed or have seen the ITTF recommend a provisional suspension.

This ranges from the Japan Open World Tour Platinum event at Kitakyushu to several junior and continental competitions.

An announcement is expected next week on whether the Hong Kong and China Opens will be held ©Getty Images
An announcement is expected next week on whether the Hong Kong and China Opens will be held ©Getty Images

The World Tour Hang Seng Hong Kong Open is currently the next competition on the calendar that is not subject to a postponement.

The competition is scheduled to take place from May 5 to 10.

The China Open, another World Tour Platinum competition, remains scheduled from May 12 to 17.

Among the major ITTF events to have been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak was the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Busan.

The competition was postponed last month, with the ITTF reserving the dates June 21 to 28 for the event in South Korea.