Formula 1’s managing director Ross Brawn says the Vietnam Grand Prix is expected to go ahead as planned despite concerns over the coronavirus. 

The first-ever grand prix to be held in Vietnam, which will take place on a street circuit in the centre of the country’s capital, Hanoi, is set to make its debut on the F1 calendar on April 5. 

But with growing concerns over the coronavirus epidemic, which has already forced the postponement of this year’s Chinese Grand Prix, doubts have been cast over whether a race can be staged in Vietnam. 

Speaking to Reuters at an event in Canada on Wednesday, Brawn insisted the race is currently on course to remain a fixture on the calendar. 

"For Vietnam, all the feedback we are getting is rather like the UK. There have been some cases but not a level that would concern us,” he said.

"The advice we are getting is that it can go ahead there.”

More than 60,000 people have been infected by the flu-like virus in China, which has killed over 1,350 people since the outbreak started in the city of Wuhan last year. It has since been declared a World health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

There was a sharp increase in deaths and cases in the Chinese province of Hubei on Wednesday, with 242 deaths recorded in what marked the deadliest day of the outbreak so far. 

On Thursday, it was announced that 10,000 people had been quarantined for a 20-day period in the Son Loi area of Vietnam due to fears that the disease could spread. So far there are 15 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Vietnam. 

Son Loi, where five people are known to have the virus now officially called COVID-19, lies 30 miles north-west of Hanoi, which itself is just 100 miles from the Chinese border. 

A statement from the FIA, F1’s governing body, on the postponement of the Chinese GP, read: "The FIA is closely monitoring the evolving situation with relevant authorities and its Member Clubs, under the direction of FIA Medical Commission President, Professor Gerard Saillant.

"The FIA will evaluate the calendar of its forthcoming races and, if necessary, take any action required to help protect the global motor sport community and the wider public.”

F1 is hoping to rearrange the Shanghai race, which was scheduled for April 19, for a slot later in the season but with an already-packed schedule of 21 races, such a scenario will prove difficult. 

The championship’s CEO, Chase Carey, admitted rescheduling the Chinese GP would prove a “challenge”

 

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