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‘Local state of disaster’ could cancel MotoGP in Austin

Simon Chapman

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Sunday 8th March, 2020 - 8:44am

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MotoGP season-opener under threat

The season-opening MotoGP race to be held at Circuit of the Americas may be under threat after a ‘local state of disaster’ was declared by the Austin-Travis County.

The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has prompted city officials to take action in the wake of the global coronavirus outbreak.

Preventative measures have been put in place following recommendations from local health authority Dr Mark Escott with advice from an independent panel of experts.

Events with 2,500 or more people have been prohibited unless organisers can give assurances that mitigation plans are in place.

The race usually attracts an estimated 50,000 people on Sunday, which could jeopardise the event.

Currently there have been no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 flu strain in the region, but the measures have been put in place to mitigate the possibility of an outbreak.

“Over the past several days a group of experts has been reviewing the Spring Festival season and keeping track of an evolving situation across the U.S. and our State in relation to COVID-19,” said Dr Escott.

“While there is no clear guidance on what local jurisdictions should do under these circumstances, our local expert advisory panel took a look at the risk factors and identified a number of concerns.

“We are focused on mitigation strategies to protect the community. These may involve modifications to public gatherings, including places of worship practices or school attendance.

“We will also be working closely with local hospitals and the business community to increase the availability of hand washing stations, hand sanitizers, messaging and posters to remind people of the importance of personal hygiene.”

MotoGP has already had a disrupted season to date. Qatar was to host the premier motorcycle category this weekend, instead only Moto2 and Moto3 will go ahead.

The second round that was to take place in Thailand has been rescheduled for later in the year.

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