Coronavirus outbreak: Bahrain to hold Formula 1 GP without spectators

The Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix this month will be held without fans in attendance due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

The Gulf Arab state is hosting the second round of the Formula One season on March 22.   -  AP

The Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix this month will be held without fans in attendance due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, organisers said on Sunday.

The Gulf Arab state, which is hosting the second round of the Formula One season on March 22, has reported 83 cases of the virus, mostly linked to people who had travelled to Iran.

“Convening a major sporting event, which is open to the public and allows thousands of international travellers and local fans to interact in close proximity would not be the right thing to do at the present time,” the Bahrain International Circuit said.

“To ensure that neither the sport, nor its global supporter base, is unduly impacted, the race weekend itself will still go ahead as a televised event.”

Organisers suspended ticket sales on Saturday as they assessed how many spectators would be allowed to attend the race.

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Self-quarantine

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said Friday it had created a “crisis cell” to meet every two days to monitor the rapidly increasing global threat posed by the deadly coronavirus as motorsport reels from a number of cancelled events.

As well as the Shanghai race, the March 21 Formula E race slated for Sanya on the Chinese island of Hainan has been axed together with the Formula E race in Rome which was due to be held on April 4.

Bahrain has shut schools and axed some flights in order to curb the spread of coronavirus. It has also asked all those who travelled to Iran to come forward and be tested, and for visitors from high-risk countries to self-quarantine for a fortnight.

(With inputs from AFP)

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