Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has slammed the decision to allow the Australian Grand Prix to take place amidst growing fears surrounding the coronavirus.
Locals in Melbourne have voiced their concern as well, calling for the event to be cancelled claiming that mass gatherings ramps up the risk of the virus spreading.
Those calls, however, have fallen upon deaf ears with authorities hell-bent on ensuring the Melbourne showpiece takes place this weekend.
Speaking in the run-up to race weekend, Hamilton expressed his shock at the decision, stating that he was 'very surprised' that the powers-that-be had given the race the green light.
"I am really very, very surprised that we're here. I think it's great that we have races but for me it's shocking that we are all sitting in this room [for the conference]," said Hamilton.
"There are so many fans here already today and it seems like the rest of the world is reacting, probably a little bit late.
"But already this morning you have seen Trump shutting down the borders from Europe to the States and you are seeing the NBA has been suspended, yet Formula 1 continues to go on.
"It's a concern I think for the people here seeing it's quite a big circus that's come here. It's definitely concerning for me."
He is not wrong.
Yesterday, news broke that three F1 team members had been forced into self-isolation in their hotels after presenting with coronavirus like symptoms.
That becomes all the more frightening when you consider the fact that they may have been mingling with several hundred people who share the paddock with them.
You can't help but feel that authorities are being somewhat naive at the moment, especially considering the influx of international travellers for a race of this magnitude.
With the Chinese Grand Prix already being postponed, and the inaugural Vietnamese meeting under threat, you can only hope that race organisers have taken every precaution to ensure the Australian GP is as safe as possible for fans and crew members alike.
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