Formula 1’s first Vietnam GP may have to be put on hold after the country closed its border to several countries due to the coronavirus.
Already the Chinese Grand Prix has been postponed with the government shutting down all sporting events as the virus continues to spiral out of control.
But now the coronavirus is posing a more global threat and Vietnam has closed its borders to nations such as Japan and Italy after major surges in cases for both countries.
Vietnam itself is not free of the virus – earlier this month authorities locked down the commune of Son Loi, an area which covers villages where 10,000 people reside, which is just 40km away from the capital Hanoi – where the first-ever Vietnamese Grand Prix is due to be held on April 5.
The Vietnam International Challenge – an Olympic badminton qualifying event – has also been pushed back until June because of the virus.
And the threat to the event has only grown stronger after the Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked the Foreign Affairs Ministry to put in a closed-border policy to people coming from South Korea, Japan, Italy, Iran and all countries which have reported cases of the coronavirus Covid-19.
The ruling from Vietnam has major implications on the logistics of Formula 1 – the Italian travellers ban would mean people from Ferrari, Alpha Tauri and Pirelli, among many others, wouldn’t be able to enter the country.
The Japanese ban would also cause a few headaches for Honda.
Vietnamese media are reporting that ‘those who have to enter Vietnam for state affairs or exclusive matters, the government requests them to follow the nation’s health declaration procedure and stay in quarantine for 14 days.’
People coming from any country with reported cases of the virus have to submit a health declaration and submit to further necessary procedures when entering Vietnam.