Europe's athletics governing body asked on Wednesday whether this year's European Championships in Paris can be held while the deadly coronavirus pandemic continues to spread.

In a statement, European Athletics said its executive board had asked the local organising committee (LOC) for the event, set to take place between August 25-30, to perform “a study of possible alternative scenarios for hosting ... including potential postponement”.

The body added the LOC has reported their preparations have been “severely compromised” by a nationwide shutdown in France as governments across the world try to slowdown a virus that has killed over 20,000 people and left more than three billion in lockdown.

“It is clear we are currently living in unprecedented times that require us to be flexible, open-minded and realistic,” said European Athletics' interim president Dobromir Karamarinov.

European Athletics also announced its under-18 championships, originally scheduled for July in Italy, will not take place this year.