Thailand MotoGP postponed, Qatar MotoGP cancelled due to COVID-19 hinh anh 1Tourists in Thailand (Illustrative image. Source: AFP/VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
- The second MotoGP race of the season, which was scheduled to take place in Thailand later this month, will be postponed due to the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic, Thai Deputy Prime Minister cum Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul  said on March 2.

The decision to postpone the Thailand Grand Prix in the northeastern province of Buriram from March 20-23 comes a day after this weekend's season-opening race in Qatar was cancelled due to travel restrictions on passengers from Italy and elsewhere.

Six riders in the 22-strong grid of the championship are Italians, while there are a number of engineers and mechanics that hail from the country which has seen a surge of cases.

The race is the latest in a long line of international sporting events affected by the acute respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 that originated in China late last year and has killed some 3,000 people and infected over 88,000 across the world.

Last week, Thai MotoGP organisers remained upbeat about the event, saying it would go ahead with strict health measures like temperature checks, facemasks and hand sanitisers.

However, Thailand's health ministry reported on March 1 that a 35-year-old Thai man
had passed away due to complications caused by the coronavirus, which he contracted
after suffering from dengue fever. This was the first fatality caused by the disease in Thailand.

The Southeast Asian country has to date reported 43 SARS-CoV-2 infection cases since January, of them 31 patients have recovered and returned home and 11 are still being treated in hospitals./.