Coronavirus: Spectators barred from Bahrain F1 Grand Prix due to Covid-19 outbreak

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel with a damaged car during the Formula One F1 Bahrain Grand Prix in Bahrain on March 31, 2019. Organisers suspended ticket sales. PHOTO: REUTERS

DUBAI (Reuters) - 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 (March 8).

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.

Bahrain has asked people entering the country who have recently visited Italy, South Korea, Egypt and Lebanon to isolate themselves for two weeks.

The Formula One season kicks off in Melbourne, Australia, next Sunday.

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