FIA Formula E has postponed the 2020 Sanya E-Prix amid the coronavirus epidemic in China.

The Chinese round was due to be held on March 21 but had been cast into doubt as a result of coronavirus, which has been declared as a public health emergency by the World Health Organisation.

Formula E says it has taken “the necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of its travelling staff, championship participants and spectators”. The all-electric championship has not provided an alternative date for the race but will continue to monitor the situation before deciding on a potential rescheduling of the event.

The postponement will leave a five-week gap in the calendar between the Marrakesh round on February 29 and Rome on April 4. Should the race be cancelled altogether, it is likely Formula E would explore the possibly of adding a replacement race by turning one of the current rounds into a double-header, like the double-header season-ending finale in London.

The full statement reads: “In view of the continued spread of coronavirus and after close consultation with the relevant departments of Hainan Province and Sanya Municipal Government, Formula E - together with the FIA, the Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of People’s Republic of China (CAMF), and regional partner Enova Holdings - have jointly decided not to race in Sanya on the scheduled date of March 21, 2020.

“Given the current growing health concerns and with the World Health Organisation declaring the coronavirus an international emergency, Formula E has taken the necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of its travelling staff, championship participants and spectators, which remains of paramount importance.

“We are working closely with our regional partner and the local authorities in Hainan Province and Sanya Municipal Government, to continue monitoring the situation as it develops. All parties will take the appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates should the situation improve.”

More than 300 people have died due to the outbreak so far, with the virus originating in the Wuhan area of China. There have been over 7,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with the first cases in the United Kingdom being confirmed on Friday.

The British Foreign Office has warned against all but essential travel to China, while British Airways has already moved to suspend all flights both to and from mainland China for the next month.

The Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix in China is also in doubt, though the race in Shanghai is set to take place a month later than the Sanya round on April 19.

The FIA issued a recent update saying that it is prepared to “take action” over the running of the Chinese GP, which is scheduled to be the fourth round on the 22-race 2020 F1 calendar.

 

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