LAUSANNE: The coronavirus spread has forced the World Anti-Doping Agency to cancel its annual symposium cue to jave been held in Lausanne on March 17-19.

WADA said it took this decision based after the Swiss health ministry banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people until at least March 15.

President Witold Banka said: “It was a difficult decision as the event attracts almost 1,000 participants from around the world every year; however, it was necessary to ensure the health and safety of the agency’s staff and stakeholder community.”

The symposium, styled “Bringing the 2021 Code and Standards into Action”, was primarily aimed at assisting WADA signatories in their adjustment to, and implementation of, the 2021 Code and International Standards, which will enter into force on January 1, 2021.

A WADA statement added: “WADA is confident that, over the coming weeks and months, it will be able to complement its previously announced 2021 Code Implementation Support Program (CISP) to include the elements of the Symposium program via webinars and other channels. The CISP is being developed in coordination with Code Signatories and other partners through 2020.”

WADA said it would continue monitoring the situation based on World Health Organization advice and enact whatever measures were appropriate for staff and stakeholder travel requirements.