Coronavirus concerns see Bahrain GP suspend ticket sales
By Mat Coch
Friday 6th March, 2020 - 10:35am
Organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix have suspended ticket sales for the event in an effort to limit any potential exposure to the coronavirus.
Bahrain is set to host the second round of the 2020 Formula 1 world championship on March 20-22.
Travel restrictions have been put in place for visitors to the Kingdom along with additional screening processes.
These include an approximately three hour test with doctors in a specially created lounge upon arrival for some visitors.
“The Bahrain International Circuit is committed to holding a safe and exciting Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix for local and international fans, and is working closely with all relevant Government departments, including the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Interior, to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19),” said a statement from the organisers.
“In light of the continued global outbreak of COVID-19, the BIC has announced that it will be phasing the sales of Grand Prix tickets to ensure appropriate social distancing guidelines are met.
“As further facts emerge, the BIC is in close communication with both Formula One Management and the Kingdom’s health authorities to assess the developing situation and release further tickets or refund the face value of tickets depending on circumstances and updated medical advice.
“This precautionary step has been introduced along with a number of public health measures ahead of the Grand Prix to ensure the safety of all spectators, teams and circuit staff.
“These include screening procedures on entry, specialist medical facilities on-site, enhanced sanitation at the circuit, additional handwashing stations, information points for fans, as well as specific medical protocols to manage any suspected cases of COVID-19.”
Bahrain lies across the Persian Gulf from Iran, which has seen a significant outbreak of cases of coronavirus.
The island nation is also just off the coast of Qatar, where MotoGP elected to cancel the opening round of its world championship (though Moto2 and Moto3 are both set to race there this weekend).
Vietnam, which is poised to host its maiden Formula 1 Grand Prix on April 3-5, has also put bans and restrictions in place in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.
It has closed its border with China and suspended flights to and from mainland China and South Korea.
There is also additional medical declaration and screening processes for travellers from mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Italy, and Iran.
It’s understood a dispensation process exists, with some members of the Formula 1 fraternity having already begun working through that process.