Marius Vizer said it was a "strange and sad period" due to the COVID-19 pandemic ©IJF

International Judo Federation (IJF) President Marius Vizer has sent a message of support to those affected by COVID-19, stating that the world is "facing a period of uncertainty".

In a statement sent through the IJF, Vizer said: "I would like to send out a strong message of support to all those affected by this situation, it is important to stay healthy and united.

"My thoughts are with those from the worst-hit countries, where the virus claimed many lives and the entire society lives in isolation."

The IJF have cancelled all events until April 30 with the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam in Russia, the Tbilisi Grand Prix in Georgia and the Antalya Grand Prix in Turkey all called off.

All three events were Tokyo 2020 qualifiers with the IJF, like other governing bodies, now facing a headache to ensure that athletes can attempt to reach the Olympics fairly and on time.

Vizer expanded on what the IJF previously called a "dangerous and critical" situation and said the Federation will continue to look for the best possible scenario to ensure sport can go ahead in future.

"We continue to work hard in order to find the best solutions and we hope that we can continue our activities as planned once the critical period is over," he said.

"In such challenging times, we need to be resilient and protect each other, and I encourage all of you to apply all the principles of our sport, setting an example for those around you."

More than 200,000 people worldwide have had confirmed cases of COVID-19, a form of coronavirus.

There have been more than 8,000 deaths related to the virus.