The ITTF is considering measures to ensure fair qualification for Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

Using world rankings to determine Olympic qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 is among the measures being considered by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The ITTF said it was also discussing adding continental events to the world singles qualification tournaments, due to be held in Doha next month, "or another event closer to the Olympic Games".

All ITTF events, including Olympic qualifiers, have been suspended until at least the end of April in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

In a statement following an emergency meeting of its Executive Committee, the ITTF said it would hold talks with continental bodies and its Athletes' Commission before submitting a proposal on its qualification system to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Olympic singles qualifiers had been set to take place in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Oceania throughout April, and it is not clear whether they can be rescheduled.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the qualification process for Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the qualification process for Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

The outbreak of the virus, which has so far killed over 7,000 people and infected more than 186,000 worldwide, has wreaked havoc on qualification for Tokyo 2020.

Dozens of Olympic qualifiers are among those to have been postponed or cancelled amid growing international concern over the spread of the virus.

The IOC has promised it will find fair solutions for athletes, but many have been left in the lurch as to how they secure a spot at the Games.

Federations are set to be granted extensions to their qualification deadlines to help ease such concerns.

The ITTF has also conceded the rescheduled dates of June 21 to June 28 for the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Busan, South Korea "may come too soon" because of the "severity of the crisis worldwide.

The worldwide body said "therefore further back-up plans will be made to hold the event towards the end of the year" in case of the need for a further postponement of the event.

A total of 26 table tennis events worldwide have either been postponed or suspended by the ITTF as a result of the virus.