Doping controls have stopped in Spain ©Getty Images

The Spanish Agency for Health Protection in Sport (AEPSAD) says it is helping athletes with medical advice during the coronavirus outbreak as anti-doping testing has drawn to a halt in the country.

Spain is one of the countries to have been most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, with only the United States, China and Italy having more than the nation’s total of at least 64,000 cases.

More than 4,800 people have died in Spain from coronavirus, with only Italy suffering more deaths.

The Spanish Government has enforced a lockdown to curb the spread of the virus around the country.

The lockdown has meant doping controls have been halted in the nation, with the AEPSAD instead focusing on providing medical advice.

“There is no sense in assigning doctors to carry out anti-doping controls when they have a social task to carry out," AEPSAD director José Luis Terreros said, according to ABC Deportes.

“There are no sports competitions in Spain and it makes no sense to go to the home of a family who is confined, three or four hours to do doping tests.

“It is very complicated for everything, for being inside a house for so long with other people, for the transfer of the samples, because there are no laboratories to analyse.

"The National Center for Sports Medicine is also part of our Agency and we dedicate a lot of effort to it now.

"Many athletes have called us to ask questions about the coronavirus and also to find out details about their training and other derivatives that may arise.

“We are a public service.

“We are now in athlete protection mode and medical advice, more than an anti-doping system.”

Spain has been one of the countries most impacted by coronavirus ©Getty Images
Spain has been one of the countries most impacted by coronavirus ©Getty Images

Terreros added that the organisation is still continuing to register the location of athletes' whereabouts, through the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) ADAMS system.

WADA released updated coronavirus guidance for anti-doping organisations earlier this week, with the anti-doping watchdog saying it is prioritising public health, safety and social responsibility.

Daily operations of some national anti-doping organisations have either been suspended or reduced during the pandemic, including testing and other activities.

WADA's COVID-19 guidance includes advice on organisations developing specific guidelines, procedures and training for sample-collection personnel, as well as ensuring those collecting samples do not show any symptoms related to coronavirus.

Sample-collection personnel should also be instructed to ask athletes upon initial communication whether anyone at the testing location is sick, experiencing symptoms or in the at-risk demographic.

WADA has said it will work with anti-doping organisations after the pandemic to determine where gaps have emerged in the system, allowing for programmes to be adjusted moving forwards.