Bahrain Grand Prix: Fans banned because of coronavirus

Grand Prix
Grand Prix

Fans will not be allowed to attend this month’s Bahrain Grand Prix because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Organizers said the race – scheduled for 20-22 March – would be “participants only” because allowing spectators at the event “would not be the right thing to do”.

The Chinese Grand Prix from 17-19 April was postponed last month.

“Balancing the welfare of supporters and racegoers is a tremendous responsibility,” organizers said.

“Given the continued spread of Covid-19 globally, convening a major sporting event, which is open to the public and allows thousands of international travelers and local fans to interact in close proximity, would not be the right thing to do at the present time.

“But 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.”

The Bahrain Grand Prix takes place a week after the season-opener in Australia.

Bahrain had implemented special measures to ensure the race would go ahead.

Immigration and health authorities have requested the names and flight details of all F1 personnel who work for teams, administrators, broadcasters or media who have been to or transited through, China (including Hong Kong), Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Egypt, Lebanon, and Thailand in the 14 days before their arrival in Bahrain.

They have also asked for the names and flight details of all passengers planning to arrive in Bahrain via the United Arab Emirates.

These passengers are expected to be screened at Manama airport on arrival and, if they do not have coronavirus, will be allowed to enter the country.

“We know how disappointed many will be by this news, especially for those planning to travel to the event, which has become a cornerstone event of the international F1 calendar, but safety has to remain our utmost priority,” read a statement from the Bahrain International Circuit.

“Bahrain’s own early actions to prevent, identify and isolate cases of individuals with Covid-19 have been extremely successful to date.

“Aggressive social distancing measures have further increased the effectiveness of preventing the virus’ spread, something that would clearly be near impossible to maintain where the race to have proceeded as originally planned.”

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