The MotoGP paddock has its first confirmed case of COVID-19. A cameraman, employed by Dorna but assigned to work with the French broadcaster Canal+ tested positive for the disease during a routine test taken during the Brno round of MotoGP, in preparation for the Austrian race at Spielberg next weekend. Fortunately, the cameraman has no symptoms of the disease at the moment.
Because of the protocol put in place to limit the risk of COVID-19, the cameraman was immediately isolated, along with the rest of the Canal+ TV crew on site. Each TV broadcaster is treated as a bubble, in the same way as teams are treated as bubbles, and the local health authorities imposed isolation on the Canal+ group. As a precaution, Dorna ordered extra tests for others the cameraman had been in contact with.
Though the test came back positive early on Saturday morning, and confirmed by another test taken immediately the first test came back positive, it took a relatively long time for Dorna to make an announcement. A press release was issued on Saturday evening, but the news was not communicated officially to other members of the paddock for some time, despite rumors spreading through the paddock by the end of the morning. MotoMatters.com understands there was some anger among some of the manufacturers that they were not told of the case earlier.
Though the case of COVID-19 was quickly detected and action taken, the incident highlights the risks facing the championship. The cameraman, like most Dorna staff, lives in the Barcelona region, which has seen rising numbers of cases in the past few weeks. The chances of infection during a trip back to Barcelona are relatively high, compared to other regions.
The positive case as found as part of an increase in testing ahead of the races in Austria. The rules surrounding the coronavirus are stricter in Austria than in the Czech Republic, and testing has been made easier to allow more people to be tested ready for the next round at the Red Bull Ring.
Below is the press release issued by Dorna:
MotoGP™ detects and isolates one case of Covid-19 in Brno
Saturday, 08 August 2020
After more than 5,500 tests performed on all paddock personnel before their attendance to the Spanish, Andalucia and Czech GPs, one person in the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship paddock has tested positive for Covid-19. The result was returned during testing undertaken ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix. The person is a member of Dorna Sports’ team and is asymptomatic.
Following the positive result that arrived early on Saturday, the person was immediately informed and isolated in their hotel. A further test was then undertaken in order to confirm the result. This second test also proved positive and therefore the staff member and all close contacts will remain in isolation.
Local health authorities will now decide on the duration of self-isolation they are required to undertake.
As a precautionary measure, the Championship has taken the decision to test any persons in secondary contact with the individual and each of them has returned a negative result.