Bahrain Formula One race bans spectators due to coronavirus, 'Not a chance' Australia will do the same

The stands at the Formula One track in the Bahrain desert will be deserted when the series visits the circuit on March 22.

(Lars Baron/Getty Images)

The venue has decided to hold the race without spectators due to coronavirus concerns, but will broadcast it as planned. Around 97,000 spectators attended the event in 2019 on the Persian Gulf island nation, which has a population of just 1.5 million and 85 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus.

(Google Earth)

The Bahrain race is the second affected by measures to control the spread of the disease, following the indefinite postponement of the China Grand Prix in Shanghai, which was originally scheduled for April 19. Formula E has also canceled a race in China, while the Italian Serie A soccer league will be playing games without spectators through April.

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Air travel to Bahrain has been reduced and residents returning from hard-hit Iran are required to be tested for the virus under threat of prosecution for failing to do so.

The Formula One season beings March 15 in Melbourne, Australia, where organizers said there is "not a chance" it will be held behind closed doors, The Guardian reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report