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‘All options open’: Health authorities back Australian F1 GP amid coronavirus concerns

Victoria’s health chief says authorities can’t rule out cancelling major international events such as next month’s Australian Grand Prix.

With the motor race barely two weeks away and the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak still spreading rapidly, including an outbreak in Italy where many F1 teams complete testing, Neil Mitchell questioned whether we need to consider cancelling the four-day event.

In response, Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton said “I think we have to keep all options open”, but said cancellation was unlikely.

“If it’s a very mild pandemic, like the 2009 flu pandemic, then you don’t need really significant action.

“But if it’s severe and we need to do absolutely everything possible to reduce the peak, reduce the number of cases, then we have to keep all options open.

“I think we keep it under review but these huge events are planned for months and months in advance and I think it would take some extraordinary activity of the coronavirus in Australia to cancel something like this at this stage.

“I think it’s almost certain to go ahead.

“It’s a huge economic boost to the country and people are harmed by economic constraints as well, so we have the bear that in mind.

“People can die as a result of really significant economic harms.”

Australian GP chief Andrew Westacott said health measures are in place.

“For every event over the 24-year history we have a robust health command and control structure and we work unbelievably closely with the emergency services organisations in Victoria.

“At the moment, events like the AFL season, the cricket World Cup and the Grand Prix continue to go ahead and I think so they should or we’re going to close our city.

“It’s all about taking precautions, looking after health and hygiene and good public health practices.”

Click PLAY to hear more from Andrew Westacott

(Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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