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Australian Grand Prix cancelled due to COVID-19 travel rules

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By Euronews  with AP
Coronavirus measures have caused the Australian Grand Prix to be cancelled once again
Coronavirus measures have caused the Australian Grand Prix to be cancelled once again   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Darko Bandic

The Australian Grand Prix has been canceled after organisers and Formula One couldn't come up with a compromise over Australia's strict COVID-19 travel and quarantine measures.

The race was postponed from its original season-opening spot on the F1 calendar on March 21 and had been rescheduled for November 19.

The 2020 Australian GP at the Albert Park street circuit in Melbourne last March was called off at the last minute at the start of the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.

Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula and Australian Grand Prix chief executive Andrew Westacott made the announcement on Tuesday.

But Victorian state Premier Daniel Andrews all but confirmed its cancellation earlier in the day, saying running such large events is “very challenging” given Australia’s low vaccination rate and international travel restrictions.

“When you’ve halved the number of people coming into the country, when you’ve got 10 percent of people vaccinated when you want and need 70 or 80 percent to have had the jab, we’re not at that point,” Andrews said.

“The timing doesn’t quite line up, and that makes it very, very challenging.”

Australia already has some of the world’s tightest border restrictions aimed at keeping COVID-19 out of the country.

Last week the government halved the cap on how many people could enter the country each day to 3,000 to ease pressure on hotels used for quarantining.

Some 34,000 Australian citizens and permanent residents are stranded overseas and registered with the government as wanting to come home.

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation presented a COVID-safe plan to the Australian government, arguing the event could be run safely with the drivers and crews operating within a biosecure bubble.

Formula One already has a race scheduled in Sao Paulo, Brazil for November 7, which left little time for a potential two-week hotel quarantine before the November race.