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F1 Chinese Grand Prix postponed over coronavirus concerns

A general view of the grid before the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 14, 2019 (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

The Formula 1 motor-racing series has confirmed today (Wednesday) that the Chinese Grand Prix scheduled for April 19 has been postponed amid concerns over the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

F1 said it has taken the decision after discussions were held between race promoter Juss Sports Group, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and Motorcycle Sports of People’s Republic of China (CAMF) and Shanghai Administration of Sports.

Juss Sports Group officially requested that the event in Shanghai be postponed and F1, together with the FIA, has accepted the request.

The postponement comes amid continued health concerns over the coronavirus, which the World Health Organisation has declared a global health emergency.

F1 and the FIA will work closely with teams, Juss Sports Group, CAMF and the local authorities to monitor the developing situation. The viability of potential alternative dates for the grand prix will be considered should the situation improve.

F1 said in a statement: “The Chinese Grand Prix has always been a very important part of the F1 calendar and the fans are always incredible. We all look forward to racing in China as soon as possible and wish everyone in the country the best during this difficult time.”

F1’s inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix is currently scheduled to go ahead as planned on April 5 despite concerns over the coronavirus in the country, which as of today has confirmed 15 cases of the virus.

A number of sporting events have been postponed in recent weeks due to concerns over the threat of the coronavirus outbreak. Earlier this month, organisers of this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo moved to dismiss reports that the event might be cancelled or postponed due to the risk posed.

PGA Tour Series- China

The PGA Tour Series-China is postponing two qualifying tournaments and delaying the start of its season by two months because of the coronavirus epidemic, it said yesterday.

The tour’s first qualifier was held last month in Guangzhou. The remaining two qualifiers in Indonesia and Thailand, have been moved to late April or early May.

PGA Tour Series-China Executive Director Greg Carlson said in a news release: “We watched and scrutinized the situation closely, and we did not make this decision lightly.

“After consultation with a variety of agencies, we determined postponement of the Qualifying Tournaments and the start of the regular season are the best courses of action at this time.

“This is a major international health issue, and we will do everything possible to ensure the safety and well-being of our players and everybody else associated with these two tournaments.

“We appreciate the patience our players have shown during what is a difficult time as they try to prepare for their seasons.

“At the same time, we don’t want to do anything that might jeopardise the health of them or anybody else who is involved in PGA Tour Series-China.”

The sixth regular season of the developmental circuit was scheduled for 14 tournaments but will now consist of 10 events.

The season was originally set to begin with the March 26-29 Sanya Championship followed by events in Haikou, Chongqing and Guangzhou, but all four tournaments have been postponed.

Tokyo Marathon

Organisers of next month’s Tokyo Marathon will distribute surgical masks to runners and volunteers upon request, as part of preventive measures against the coronavirus outbreak.

This will be part of four measures to be taken during the event on March 1, with alcohol-based hand sanitizers also be available at the EXPO, packet pick-up, volunteer check-in, and at venues in the finish area.

In addition, anti-bacterial wet wipes will be distributed in the finish area and there will be operational revisions of the aid stations.

Tokyo Marathon organisers released a statement saying: “To our runners, volunteers and all other related parties, we request all to obtain the most up-to-date information from certified medical organisations and/or public authorities, and continue to adopt stringent hygiene practices.

“Also, to runners residing outside of Japan, please access respective website, such as Japan National Tourism Organization, to obtain the latest information.”

“Please pay careful attention to your own health, and the decision whether to participate in the event is a personal choice and one each individual must consider carefully.

“We would like to request the cooperation from all participants to monitor the body temperature, and if you have fever or experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness, we advise you to refrain from participating in the event.

“We will continue to provide further information through our Tokyo Marathon official website and social channels as we monitor the situation.”

Organisers announced last week that Chinese resident runners would automatically qualify for the 2021 Tokyo Marathon should they choose to skip participation for the upcoming edition. Media reports put the number of registered runners for this year’s event living in China at around 1,800.

International Skating Union

The ISU has implemented a series of precautions at its events due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The 10 measures drawn up by the ISU includes:

  • the completion of a questionnaire on arrival, including travel screening
  • health checks on arrival and periodically throughout events
  • availability of tests for coronavirus on anyone with a temperature
  • availability of masks for anyone who requests one or who has cold-like symptoms
  • availability of isolation rooms if necessary
  • availability of hand sanitizer throughout venues and hotels
  • availability of gloves if requested
  • the reinforcement of education regarding frequent hand washing
  • the reduction of handshaking and close physical contact
  • the inclusion of an educational sheet in information at events

A statement from the ISU said: “The ISU is in close contact with the Organising Committees who will implement any necessary measures for the public.

“Additionally, the ISU continues to closely monitor any new development of the evolution of the coronavirus and will follow the recommendations provided by the World Health Organization (WHO).”