(Reuters) – The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has suspended all activity until April 30 including all events in the World Triathlon and Continental calendars due to the coronavirus outbreak, the governing body said on Saturday.

All world rankings, Olympic qualification rankings, paratriathlon rankings and Paralympic qualification rankings will be frozen from Monday as a result, it added.

“This is a decision that is hard to take and… we are taking it with the health and safety of athletes, coaches, officials, facilitators, staff, volunteers and spectators, all the triathlon family, as the top priority,” ITU President Marisol Casado said in a statement.

“We are taking this decision convinced that we all have to take our part to prevent and stop the spread of the virus. It is our responsibility, as a society.

“Having our athletes, coaches, officials and staff travelling around the world at this challenging time is not something that we in World Triathlon are willing to risk.”

More than 138,000 people have been infected globally and over 5,000 have died in the pandemic, according to a Reuters tally of government announcements.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; editing by Tony Lawrence)

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