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Australian Grand Prix To Go Ahead Despite Virus Cancellation Fears

The Australian Grand Prix looks set to go ahead next week in Melbourne, after the government said on Thursday they would not be implementing a travel ban on arrivals from Italy.
06 Mar 2020 09:26
Australian Grand Prix To Go Ahead Despite Virus Cancellation Fears
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland competes during the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix 2019 at the Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia, March 17, 2019. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

The Australian Grand Prix looks set to go ahead next week in Melbourne, after the government said on Thursday they would not be implementing a travel ban on arrivals from Italy.

With a high number of racing team members coming from Italy, including Ferrari, fears were that the event could face cancellation should key personnel be unable to attend due to a COVID-19 related ban.

The Australian government confirmed on Thursday they would be introducing “enhanced screening” for travellers arriving from Italy, which has experienced one of the worst outbreaks of the disease recently.

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany reacts before the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix 2019 at the Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia, March 17, 2019. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany reacts before the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix 2019 at the Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia, March 17, 2019. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

“Those enhanced screening measures will be in place for those visitors who have been coming through Italy and indeed Australians who are coming back from Italy,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters.

The government did however introduce a temporary travel ban for South Korea, which Morrison said sees more than five times the amount of arrivals into Australia than Italy.

Australian Grand Prix chief Andrew Westacott told 3AW on Thursday that with no travel ban for Italy, the event was “all systems go.”

“They don’t take into account events and other things, they take into account what’s ultimately best for the nation, and the outcome is a very good outcome,” he said.

Formula One Managing Director Ross Brawn told Reuters earlier in the week that if any team was ruled out due to COVID-19 the competition could not go ahead.

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“If a team is prevented from entering a country we can’t have a race. Not a Formula One world championship race, anyway, because that would be unfair,” Brawn said.

According to Westacott the track in Melbourne was in the process of being put together and would be ready to once again kick off the Formula One World Championship season.



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