Formula 1 fans will not be able to attend the Bahrain Grand Prix as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The second race on the 2020 calendar will take place behind closed doors.
The Kingdom of Bahrain recently halted ticket sales for the race weekend, which was due to take place between March 20 and 22.
A statement released on Sunday morning has now clarified that only participants will be allowed at the Bahrain International Circuit so it will be a televised event only.
“In consultation with our international partners and the Kingdom’s national health Taskforce, Bahrain has made the decision to hold this year’s Bahrain Grand Prix as a participants-only event,” it said.
“As an F1 host nation, balancing the welfare of supporters and race goers is a tremendous responsibility.
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“Given the continued spread of COVID-19 globally, 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.
“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.”
It is the latest sporting event to be affected by the coronavirus – officially called COVID-19.
Bahrain defended the decision to take radical action to prevent the spread of the virus.
The statement added: “Bahrain’s own early actions to prevent, identify and isolate cases of individuals with COVID-19 has been extremely successful to date.
“The approach has involved rapid, proactive measures, identifying those affected by the virus, of which the overwhelming majority of cases relate to those travelling into the country by air.
“Aggressive social distancing measures have further increased the effectiveness of preventing the virus’ spread, something that would clearly be near impossible to maintain were the race to have proceeded as originally planned.
“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.”
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