Australia travel restrictions tightened, GP expected to go ahead

The Australian federal government has tightened travel restrictions for passengers coming from Italy, but resisted a total ban, as next week's Melbourne Formula 1 race is expected to go ahead

Australia travel restrictions tightened, GP expected to go ahead

As Australia's response to the COVID-19 crises evolves, prime minister Scott Morrison today announced that South Korea has been added to the same travel ban list as China and Iran.

The bans, set to run until March 14 at the very earliest, won't allow passengers to enter Australia within 14 days of leaving any of those three countries.

Morrison also confirmed that passengers arriving from Italy will face stricter entry requirements, including questioning at check-in and temperature checks on arrival.

However, Italy has once again escaped a full travel ban - which could prove crucial to next week's Australian Grand Prix going ahead.

Should the travel advice for Italy not change before next week, the final hurdle for the AGP would be any potential restriction on public gatherings to limit the risk of transmission.

There have been no major events cancelled in Australia just yet, although Victorian minister for sports Martin Pakula did yesterday tell SEN radio that the Aussie Rules season starting behind closed doors "wasn't out of the question".

Autosport has approached the Australian Grand Prix Corporation for its response to the latest government travel advice.

Supercars, which is set to stage its second points-paying round of the season at Albert Park should the event go ahead, says it will follow the "advice and direction" of the AGPC.

"Supercars is ready to race next week and it's business as usual for us," read a statement provided to Autosport by the series.

"We are remaining flexible and operating within the guidelines set by Australian health authorities.

"As it's not our event, Supercars will take the advice and direction from the AGP, but we're ready to go and we're looking forward to a great weekend of racing."

Interstate teams are set to begin the trek to Melbourne this weekend, should the event not be called off before then.

Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott reiterated that the grand prix will go ahead as planned, and he expects the teams to start arriving in Melbourne in the coming days.

"It's all systems go for next week," Westacott told 3AW Radio Melbourne.

"It's 50 workers from Formula 1 that have been in the Albert Park for a couple of days now.

"The freight arrives between tomorrow and Saturday/Sunday out of Avalon. Everyone from the world of Formula 1 including those teams which we should talk about in more detail arrive from Thursday through to Tuesday next week.

"The Prime Minister announced in his 1 o'clock press conference the enhanced screening procedures and measures from Italy.

"And I think he made the point that there were about 5 times the volume of people coming in from Australia from South Korea vs Italy.

"I guess the chief health officers, nationally, and the input from state health officers and after that the national security committee, they don't take into account events and other things.

"They take into account what's ultimately best for the nation, taking into account all inputs and the outcome is a very good outcome."

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