The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments in London and Paris will be provisionally postponed until September, while the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament for women in Langford, USA has been postponed until later in the year.

The final men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series event has been postponed until later in the year and the Olympic Games Repechage qualification tournament scheduled for June is under review.

World Rugby continues to be in close consultation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the implications for the qualification process in the event that the Repechage is unable to be hosted due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

These latest decisions have been taken in consultation with the respective unions and follows previously confirmed postponements of the Hong Kong and Singapore rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series event in Stellenbosch, South Africa. They have been taken in line with the relevant government and public health authority advice.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “We stand in solidarity with the global rugby family and people around the world at this exceptional and difficult time, and I will ensure we continue to do everything in our power to protect the wellbeing of the global rugby family and the wider public.

“Taking the appropriate measures that mitigate the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus in line with government and public health agency responses and advice is paramount. This has underpinned our decision, taken in consultation with our unions, to suspend these World Rugby tournament activities with immediate effect.”

Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Sunday that postponing the 2020 Olympic Games is one its options as the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, but that cancellation of the Tokyo showpiece was “not on the agenda”.

The IOC has faced strong pressure to push back the Tokyo Games, scheduled from 24 July to 9 August, from sporting federations and athletes worried about the health risk as the Covid-19 global death tally rose past the 13 000 mark.

On Sunday, IOC President Thomas Bach told athletes a decision on the Games would be made “within the next four weeks”, after which Canada became the first nation to withdraw from the Olympics on Monday.