Bahrain Grand Prix to be held behind closed doors because of coronavirus

Bahrain Grand Prix to be held behind closed doors because of coronavirus

Special measures have been announced to ensure the safety of all spectators, teams and staff as Bahrain gears up to host the 2020 Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix later this month.

"Given the continued spread of COVID-19 globally, convening a major sporting event, which is open to the public and allows thousands of worldwide travellers and local fans to interact in close proximity would not be the right thing to do at the present time", said the Bahrain statement.

F1 has already had the Chinese Grand Prix postponed due to the outbreak, but its calendar has so far not undergone any further alterations.

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

Bahrain has confirmed 83 coronavirus cases, according to the Ministry of Health, but the country is stepping up its battle against the virus.

After the F1 season in Australia, the F1 season kicked off on Sunday 5 April before heading to Vietnam yesterday.

The spokesman said this meant looking at the capacity and adjusting it accordingly.

Concerts featuring DJ's Afrojack and Don Diablo over the race weekend have been canceled.

"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 worldwide F1 calendar, but safety has to remain our utmost priority".

The decision is motivated by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The Maranello base of Formula One's oldest and most successful team Ferrari is within the affected area.

Despite their home province of Modena being quarantined by the Italian Grand Prix, Ferrari employees have been allowed to leave the country to attend the Australian Grand Prix.

Sales of tickets for the Bahrain GP were suspended in early March.

Have any other F1 races happened behind closed doors?

Bahrain has reported more than 80 cases of the disease, mostly among pilgrims returning from Iran.

CNN's Mostafa Salem, in Abu Dhabi, contributed to this reporting.

MotoGP's season-opening race in Qatar this weekend was called off, with only the Moto2 and Moto3 support categories racing because riders were already there for a previous test.

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