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China cancels Formula 1 Grand Prix over coronavirus fears

2009 Formula 1 Grand Prix of China - Shanghai Circuit. (Derrick Noh/Flickr)
February 12, 2020

The Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of People’s Republic of China (CAMF) and Shanghai Administration of Sports has canceled its 2020 Formula 1 Grand Prix over concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Formula 1 confirmed the race cancelation following requests from Chinese Grand Prix Promoter, Juss Sports Group.

“Amid continued health concerns and with the World Health Organisation declaring the coronavirus as a global health emergency, Formula 1, together with governing body the FIA, jointly decided to accept the postponement request in order to ensure the health and safety of the traveling staff, championship participants and fans,” Formula 1 said in a press statement.

Formula 1 and FIA indicated they are looking for possible alternative race dates and will continue to keep the racing teams and event organizers informed of new developments.

“The Chinese Grand Prix has always been a very important part of the F1 calendar and the fans are always incredible,” the Formula 1 statement said. “We all look forward to racing in China as soon as possible and wish everyone in the country the best during this difficult time.”

The coronavirus outbreak, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan and which has resulted in quarantines throughout the surrounding Hubei province, has been an ongoing health concern for the Chinese government.

The illness has already seen more than 800 deadly cases since the outbreak began. The death toll from the novel coronavirus outbreak has exceeded the death toll seen in the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak in the country.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country has already risen beyond 37,000 in mainland China.

Other Chinese sporting events have also been canceled in recent weeks, in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The Chinese Football Association (CFA) postponed all of its domestic events, according to Reuters.

Players for Chinese women’s soccer team, traveled to Australia to play in an Olympic qualifying tournament but instead found themselves quarantined in their hotel room in Brisbane.

Chinese Skiing, badminton, tennis and basketball events have also reportedly been affected by the ongoing health concerns in the country. Recent Chinese quarantine efforts also threw off travel plans for many citizens celebrating the country’s Lunar New Year.

Cases have also expanded beyond China to Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, France, Australia, Malaysia, Nepal, Canada and to the U.S.