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The Bahrain Grand Prix which is the first event on the FIA Formula 2 calendar will take place behind closed doors due to the coronavirus outbreak, it was announced.

The first race of the season for Formula 2 season, due to be staged from 20-22 March, has become the latest sporting event to be closed to the public because of the virus. It was only a week ago that the Teams and Drivers had been in Bahrain’s, Sakhir Circuit preparing for the season opener.

Bahrain has reported now more than 60 cases of the coronavirus. Bahrain’s decision comes amid fears across the globe about the spread of the Covid-19 illness.

Within the Kingdom, officials have shut schools and cancelled 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 as a precaution given the scale of the issue in the nearby nation.

The official statement released on Sunday morning, read: “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.

“As an F1 host nation, balancing the welfare of supporters and racegoers is a tremendous responsibility. 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’s unclear at this stage if and how previously purchased tickets will be refunded to racegoers as we await news from the FIA and the Formula One group.

 

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