Teams at the UAE Tour have been informed that the race has been cancelled after two Italians at the race have tested positive for coronavirus.
The decision was made by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, which circulated a message to teams and media at the event.
“The decision has been taken to ensure protection of all the race’s participants,” said the Council, adding that “safety comes at the top of all priorities.”
The Abu Dhabi Sports Council did not say whether the participants were racers in the event or not. It did not specify who had come down with the virus.
According to the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention, all of the race’s participants and and organizers will be tested.
“All administrative staff and organizers will be examined through the continuous periodic screening being conducted, and all needed procedures, including quarantine measures, will be taken to ensure viral suppression and curb the spread of its outbreak in coordination with all health and other authorities concerned in the country,” said a statement.
The news first was circulated online by the official team Twitter handles of Jumbo-Visma and Vini Zabú-KTM, both of which are participating in the event. Journalists on the ground at the event have confirmed the news.
The race has yet to put out an official statement on the news.
We have taken note of the cancellation of the UAE Tour due to the occurence of the coronavirus. We wish all the people involved the very best, awaiting further developments.
— Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) February 27, 2020
@uae_tour ufficialmente annullato, seguiranno dettagli
— Marco Bonarrigo (@cyclingpro) February 27, 2020
— Vini Zabú – KTM (@ViniZabuKTM) February 27, 2020
It’s a shame that the #UAETour has been cancelled but public health must come first. We are all awaiting testing and will remain at the hotel until further notice. I hope those affected make a speedy recovery and there aren’t any further cases #coronavirus
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) February 27, 2020
It appears that there could be cases of coronavirus among the race entourage. La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that two soigneurs on the UAE-Emirates team were not feeling well. Fearing the worst, race officials then asked everyone to stay in their hotel rooms under lockdown.
The entire race is staying at hotels on Yas Island, just outside of Abu Dhabi.
Breaking news ISN : We got an official word that 2 suspected corona virus cases found in the The team’s hotel in Abu Dhabi. #UAETour canceled. We are all going to be checked for the virus in the next few hours.
— Israel Start-Up Nation / Israel Cycling Academy (@YallaIsraelSUN) February 27, 2020
Team officials said that riders and staffers will be tested, and they are clear of any symptoms, they will be allowed to return home. That could change overnight as officials on the ground reassess the situation.
The UAE has been monitoring the disease for the past few weeks.
According to a Gulf News news report, UAE officials have recorded 19 total cases of coronavirus in the country since late January. The government recorded six new cases of coronavirus this week, prompting the country to cancel flights in and out of Iran.
UAE is a major travel hub between China, Russia, and western Europe.
Please stay tuned to velonews.com as this story is evolving.