‘All systems go’: Australian Grand Prix set to go ahead with Italy exempt from travel ban

The Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne is set to go ahead as planned next week after the federal government announced a travel ban for South Korea but not for Italy.

There were widespread fears the worldwide coronavirus outbreak would impact on the season-opening F1 race in Melbourne.

But after the government announced a travel ban on those arriving from South Korea, and not extending that ban to Italy, it was a case of "all systems go" for the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, said an Australian Grand Prix spokesman.

There were concerns that one of the world's biggest teams, Ferrari, would be prevented from taking part in Melbourne, putting the entire event in doubt.

The government extended the travel ban from those arriving from China and Iran to also include South Korea. That means logistics and planning for the grand prix won't be overly affected.

"Today's announcement [from the federal government] doesn't change it [the running of the race]," the spokesman said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that those arriving from Italy would be subject to increased screening measures.

"We will also put in place our enhanced screening measures to deal with those travellers that have come from Italy," Morrison said.

"The cohort we are seeing coming from Italy as opposed to the Republic of Korea, we have about five times, just over that, the number of people coming from Korea than we do having come from Italy."

F1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn had declared that if any team was prevented from travelling to a country to race, then any event held there could not be classed as a round of the world championship, a call that would hit at the status of the Australian race.

"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.

More to come

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