The European Judo Championships are set to take place next month in Lisbon ©EJU

The European Judo Union (EJU) has welcomed the decline in COVID-19 cases in Portugal ahead of next month’s European Championships.

The European Judo Championships are scheduled to take place from April 16 to 18.

The EJU said final preparations are underway for the event.

These have been boosted by a drop in COVID-19 cases after what the governing body described as a "stark rise" during the winter months.

Portugal has had an average of 481 new COVID-19 cases over the past seven days, compared to 12,000 at the end of January.

The increase in cases had seen several countries introduce a ban on people travelling to and from Portugal and the decline in infection rates has led to restrictions being eased.

Prague hosted last year's European Judo Championships ©EJU
Prague hosted last year's European Judo Championships ©EJU

"As always, the safety of the athletes is a priority," the EJU said.

"By now, most or all who will be travelling to take the European title will have experienced the new system, testing, isolating and quarantining, adjusting to the new normal.

"The COVID-19 situation has continued to improve since January following a difficult winter period, now the cases are so low that they mimic the start of the pandemic when the disease was still fairly unknown."

Competition is set to take place at the Altice Arena in Lisbon.

The EJU said the venue will provide space for athletes and coaches in accordance with new measures in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, which are aimed at reducing the risk of spreading the virus.

The last edition of the European Judo Championships took place in the Czech Republic in November.

The Championships had initially been scheduled for May before being moved due to the pandemic and scheduling challenges.