Australian GP 'all systems go' but coronavirus continues to hit sport

Plenty of action is expected in the season opening race of the Formula One season in Melbourne on March 15. The organisers has insisted "we are all systems go" for the season-opening race in Melbourne despite concern over the global spread of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak after Qatar and China has postponed/Cancelled their races. - AP

MELBOURNE: The Australian Grand Prix has insisted "we are all systems go" for the Formula One season-opening race in Melbourne on March 15 despite concern over the global spread of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

In contrast, Thailand has indefinitely postponed its March 22 MotoGP a day after Qatar scrapped the March 8 season-opener and the coming biathlon World Cup in the Czech Republic will take place behind closed doors.

European football governing body UEFA, meanwhile, are discussing potential consequences for Euro 2020, the media has learned.

"The Australian Grand Prix Corporation has robust health, safety and emergency management arrangements in place at each event and we are working collaboratively with health agencies and related government and emergency services organisations in addressing this matter," race chief Andrew Westacott said Monday.

Teams and equipment are scheduled to arrive as usual in the coming days despite the increasing number of Covid-19 infections in the country and entry bans enforced on several countries.

However, Italy - home to teams Ferrari and Alpha Tauri, and tyre provider Pirelli - is not yet impact by a ban.

The fourth race of the season, in China, has already been postponed while grands prix in Bahrain and Vietnam are in doubt.

Thailand's Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters on Monday that the event has not been cancelled but it is indefinitely postponed "until it's safe.”

MotoGP organizers confirmed the decision, saying it was "evaluating" the possibility of staging the race later in the season.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis announced the March 5-8 biathlon World Cup in Nove Mesto would take place but without fans following a meeting of the national security council in Prague.

Czech authorities will consider further measures regarding large scale events in the coming days. Organizers had expected up to 100,000 people to attend.

The governing IBU said accepted the decision and reiterated it "will follow any regulations and demands made by national authorities regarding the spread of the coronavirus."

UEFA will hold initial conversations about the virus at an already scheduled executive committee meeting in Amsterdam on Monday but will not yet consider concrete measures to be taken or scenarios involving the cancellation of the Euros.

Euro 2020 runs June 12-July 12 in 12 countries across Europe with the opening game in Rome. Italy has seen several top-flight Serie A matches scheduled for the north of the country postponed in the last two weeks.

Monday's Serie A fixture between Sampdoria and Verona has become the latest match delayed till May but Italian Cup semi-finals later this week are currently to go ahead.

The UEFA congress and Nations League draw will also take place as planned in Amsterdam on Tuesday. - dpa/Asian News Network
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Melbourne , F1 , Season-opener , All Okay , Covid-19


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