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Enhanced travel screening to have no impact on Australian GP

Mat Coch

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Thursday 5th March, 2020 - 4:32pm

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Enhanced screen for travellers from Italy will not pose a problem for the Australian Grand Prix

Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott says enhanced screening for passengers landing from Italy will pose little to no impact on the running of next weekend’s race.

The Federal Government today confirmed the implementation of “advanced screening measures” for travellers from Italy along with a travel ban extension to South Korea.

Those heading to Australia from Italy will be asked questions at check-in as well as having their temperatures checked upon arrival.

Speaking on 3AW this afternoon, Westacott played down the impact of the additional measures, reaffirming his belief that the event will go ahead as planned.

“It’s all systems go for next week,” said Westacott.

“The freight arrives between tomorrow and Saturday/Sunday out at Avalon.

“Then everyone from the world of Formula 1, including those teams which we should talk about in a bit more detail arrive from Thursday through to Tuesday next week.”

Though further restrictions are not at this point expected, should they be introduced next week for travellers from Italy it would likely be too late to impact the bulk of Formula 1’s staff.

“I’ve learned through this exercise to not speculate on medical matters, but by that stage the very vast majority of the Formula 1 teams, and there’s two teams from Italy plus Pirelli, would have been in the country, so it would just been the last few (individuals),” Westacott said.

“I’ve adopted a practical view on this as well as the teams, while they still have the go through the enhanced screening measures – there’s no exceptions made for Formula 1 personnel – there’s going to be a level of self-policing because for a season and the intricacies of Formula 1, you’re not going to put your team in jeopardy because you’ve had exposure to this.

“So they’ve been thinking about this for a long period of time in Europe.”

Reports on Melbourne radio on this morning claimed organisers had engaged Supercars with a view to a more prominent role at the event should Formula 1 be unable to compete.

That included the suggestion of an endurance-style event, however, a statement from Supercars issued to Speedcafe.com this afternoon stated it expected to compete as per the original schedule.

“Supercars is ready to race next week and it’s business as usual for us,” the statement read.

“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.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced enhanced screening measures for travellers landing from Italy in a press conference in Canberra.

“We will also put in place what are enhanced screening measures to deal with those travellers that have come from Italy,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“And I want to be very clear about what those enhanced screen measures are.

“Travellers will be asked mandatory questions at check in, and anyone failing those checks will be denied approval to board.

“If anyone gets sick onboard, Biosecurity and Health will meet the plane on arrival and manage those people directly.

“On arrival, travellers will not be able to use the Smart Gates, they will have to be dealt with directly by an officer.

“They will be asked further detailed questions. They will undergo health screening at the airport, which involves temperature checks and associated checks.

“If necessary, Health will make a decision on what is to happen with that passenger, and Border Force and Biosecurity officers will also be placed in the baggage halls to conduct further questioning and checking.”

On track action at the Australian Grand Prix begins on Thursday, March 12, though Formula 1’s opening session is not until Friday, March 13.

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