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"No chance" of Australian GP being held behind closed doors

NEWS STORY
09/03/2020

On Sunday morning, organizers in Bahrain announced that although the race scheduled for 22 March would go ahead as planned, the decision had been taken to hold it behind closed doors, banning spectators from attending.

Speaking to SEN radio, Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO, Andrew Westacott, has said there is "no chance" of his race following the Bahrain example.

"Not a chance," he said, when asked if such a move had been considered. "When you look at 86,000 at the MCG last night, and the footy the week after, we've got to go around things sensibly and keep moving on through life while taking the necessary precautions.

"The interesting thing is the Italian freight," he continued. "The AlphaTauri cars and the Ferrari cars are on their way from Avalon (airport) as we speak, so it's really good. The key personnel are on their planes.

"Interestingly, the only two people who didn't hail from Italy were Sebastian Vettel, who came out of Switzerland, and Charles Leclerc coming out of Monaco via Nice," he revealed. "All the others are on their way, and we're expecting them in the next 12 to 24 hours."

"At this point in time our advice around the Grand Prix and other public mass gathering events remains unchanged," said Jenny Mikakos, the minister for health. "We want to enable people to go about and live their lives as normally as possible, of course taking greater precautions than they would normally."

Victoria's chief health officer, Brett Sutton, though backing up what had already been said, made it clear that if the need arises the authorities will act.

"There is a time and a place for the cancellation of public gatherings," he said. "The timing is important because when community transmission is at significant levels it has an effect.

"When there is undetected or very small numbers of community transmission occurring that is not necessarily the time. It loses the will of the population to engage in what is required and has very little effect on the epidemic curve.

"Make no mistake," he added, "we will hit the button on the things that are required for social distancing at the point they're required."

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