'All systems go': Australian and Bahrain F1 races to go ahead despite coronavirus fears

The new season is due to start on March 15 at the Australian Grand Prix before moving to Bahrain a week later

Formula One F1 - Pre Season Testing - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - February 28, 2020   Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in action during testing   REUTERS/Albert Gea

Organisers of the opening rounds of the 2020 F1 season have said races will go ahead as planned despite a growing number of other sports cancelling or postponing events due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The new season is due to start on March 15 at the Australian Grand Prix before moving to Bahrain a week later.

As of Tuesday morning, Australia had reported 30 cases of coronavirus with one death while the number of infected patients in Bahrain was 47, according to health officials.

Both countries have issued travel bans on China and Iran, while Bahrain has also imposed restrictions on anyone who has transited or visited Hong Kong, Iraq, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

With the majority of F1 teams set to travel to Melbourne later this week, Australian GP chief executive Andrew Westacott said: "We are all systems go.

"At this stage there is no indication of further travel bans, nor is there any indication that Formula One and the teams will not be arriving as usual.

"Formula One has again confirmed overnight that the Australian Grand Prix is going ahead."

Circuit officials for the Bahrain Grand Prix, which is set to take place on March 22, are confident their race will also go ahead.

F1 personnel who have visited high-risk countries within 14 days of their arrival in Bahrain will be subjected to an extensive screening process.

A spokesperson for the race said: "The Bahrain International Circuit is working closely with all relevant government departments, including the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Interior, to mitigate the threat of the coronavirus disease [Covid-19].

"Ministries have activated a number of public health measures, including but not limited to restricting travel from high-risk areas, introducing an extensive screening programme, and establishing quarantine facilities for suspected cases.

"It is in the context of these initiatives that the BIC is confident its preparations will result in a successful and safe Grand Prix later this month."

Football, golf, rugby and tennis have all been affected by the coronavirus outbreak while the MotoGP season has been hit with the first two rounds of the 2020 calendar postponed.

The opening race, the Grand Prix of Qatar from March 6-8, was cancelled on Sunday evening due to travel restrictions imposed to limit the outbreak of the disease.

With immediate effect, passengers arriving in Doha on direct flights from Italy, or those having been in Italy in the last two weeks, will be taken into quarantine for 14 days.

The second round in Thailand, which had been scheduled for March 22, has now been postponed.

This week's Moto2 and Moto3 classes will go ahead in Qatar as the riders and teams were already in the country for the three-day official test at Losail International Circuit.

Golf's Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, which gets under way on Thursday in Doha, is due to go ahead as scheduled.

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