World Athletics has created an Outbreak Prevention Taskforce with the International Institute for Race Medicine (IIRM) to provide guidelines for endurance events in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Outbreak Prevention Taskforce will serve as an advisory group and include representatives from the medical industry, other International Federations, sponsors and the media, but be led by World Athletics and the IIRM.
The International Cycling Union, International Ski Federation, International Triathlon Union, International Paralympic Committee and World Rowing will all be included.
Professor Brian McCloskey of the Chatham House Centre on Global Health Security, an independent expert on outbreak prevention, will also be on the Taskforce.
McCloskey already sits on the World Health Organization Novel Coronavirus-19 Mass Gatherings Expert Group.
Stephane Bermon, director of the health and science department at World Athletics, insisted the group was formed to find solutions to problems.
"We are forming this taskforce to bring together key representatives from all parts of the endurance sports world to help find solutions and create viable and appropriate guidelines for participants of mass sports events, event staff, volunteers, and the community at large," Bermon said.
"COVID-19 has been the stimulus for the formation of this taskforce, however, many event organisers have also had to deal with Norovirus and other contagious diseases during the staging of events and this taskforce will help create guidelines to help reduce the risk of infection."
World Athletics and IIRM form Outbreak Prevention Taskforce for Mass Events.— World Athletics (@WorldAthletics) April 17, 2020
The Outbreak Prevention Taskforce will aim to recommend the most appropriate actions to prevent spreading coronavirus and collect and study data from COVID-19 survivors to determine if they are at an increased risk of developing illness or injury while participating in endurance events.
It will provide race organisers with guidelines through risk assessments, as well as advising how to plan for a return to activities in the aftermath of the pandemic.
The Outbreak Prevention Taskforce will hold its first meeting next week and will produce guidelines as soon as possible.
Countless endurance events have been postponed or cancelled as a result of the pandemic.
To date, there are more than 2.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, resulting in the deaths of more than 154,000 people.