COVID-19 And Karting

This post has been edited from original as new information comes to hand. Further updates are likely to be made.

While it’s just the past few days that it’s become a more significant issue in Australia, the COVID-19 ‘Corona virus’ has been impacting karting for several weeks now.

A number of race meetings in Italy have been postponed, starting with the Margutti Trophy (originally Feb 28 – Mar 1) and then quite a few of the WSK international events. (EDIT: there will be no WSK events in March or April. WSK Promotion has released an updated, but yet to be confirmed, calendar with the first re-scheduled race, WSK Super Master Series, on May 3 at La Conca. Second round on May 24 (Sarno) then WSK Euro Series on June 7 (Lonato), July 26 (Adria) and August 2 (Sarno)).

(pic – WSK Promotion)

It’s a similar deal in the USA with cancellations and postponements, though some organisers (eg, SKUSA this weekend at Nola) still plan to run their events. (EDIT: SKUSA has stated it has been forced by the Louisiana State Authority to cancel this event. It appears SKUSA and the majority of competitors wanted to continue, however “SKUSA is powerless to overrule or circumvent their jurisdiction on the matter.”)

FURTHER:

IAME X30 Euro Series – Opening round in Belgium cancelled. “Unfortunately we are forced to postpone this race due to the Belgium Government’s decision to cancel all sporting events until 3 April. This race will now take place 21 – 24 May in Mariembourg. These dates were originally reserved for Race 2 in Castelletto. Due to the situation in Italy this race will be moved to another date later in the year.”

Rotax MAX Challenge Euro Trophy – With the opening round now not able to be run, the calendar has been amended. the opeing round is now scheduled fo May 8-10 at Genk in Belgium, then Round 2: Karting des Fagnes, Belgium (29 – 31 May), Round 3: Paul Fletcher International (10 – 12 July), Round 4: ProKart Raceland Circuit (4 – 6 September).

Italian Karting Championship – the opening round in Sicily has been postponed from April 5 to May 31, thus becoming the second round of the Championship. The series is now set to kick off on May 10 at La Conca.

Locally, major sporting events are either being cancelled (such as the AGP) or postponed, or will run without spectator attendance. The Government has now issued a recommendation that from Monday, the public should not attend gatherings of more than 500 people.

Earlier today, one of Australia’s main karting teams confirmed it will not be attending the Rotax Pro Tour or State Championship events in Victoria in the coming weeks (the team subsequently deleted it’s post from social media due to various comments from ill-informed parties).

Late this afternoon, AIDKA published that it has currently given its clubs the authority to decide whether to run their events or not. At this stage, the SA State Title (not due to run until May) is expected to go ahead as planned. See the AIDKA statement below.

Following that, Karting Australia issued a comprehensive statement to its membership (see below) with recommendations about staying healthy and keeping informed. KA has not advised of any cancellations or postponements, however “if a hard decision needs to be made – we will make it in what we believe, on an informed basis, is in the best interests of the Karting Australia Family.”

Karting NSW has communicated the update from the NSW Department of Sport regarding advice that all non-essential organised gatherings of more than 500 people, including sporting events, should be postponed until further notice.

Posted by AIDKA:

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT – CORONAVIRUS

As of today 13th March with the government press release on guidelines towards Coronavirus AIDKA wish to advise that at this stage the SA Title at Blanchetown in May will still be going ahead.

As the impact of Corrnavirus is developing and government authorities advise of any changes that effect our events we will update our members as necessary. This may include restrictions at events or even cancellations.

At this stage any club has the authority to either run or cancel their events if they feel it is in their best interest or they feel they are at risk with Coronavirus.

AIDKA will keep all members updated if the current situation changes.

Message from Karting Australia

Important Message to Karting Australia Members – Coronavirus Management

Dear Karting Australia Members,

In light of recent and rapid developments regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) I want to update you on several matters related to this virus that is affecting the world. Karting Australia on the advice of our Chief Medical Officer will be leading the response to Covid-19 for our sport. We will do so with our Member States and we will be expecting our Member States to lead their Clubs consistent with the approach that we will be taking.

As you would expect, Karting Australia’s number one priority is the health and safety of our drivers, officials, volunteers, families, industry members and supporters of karting (the Karting Australia Family).

You would all be aware that earlier today, the 2020 Australian Rolex Formula 1 Grand Prix was cancelled following confirmation that a member of the McLaren Racing Team has tested positive for Covid-19. The Grand Prix is a far cry from a karting event in so many ways – not the least of which is the number of people who would gather at those events.

Across the country there appear to be many different responses to different ‘mass gathering’ situations. The likelihood of confusion and mixed messaging in a situation like this is high. We want to avoid that and to ensure that the Karting Australia family is properly informed on this issue with the best advice that is available to us. 

As a result, it may become necessary for our Clubs and promoters of events to introduce several measures in the short-term designed to minimise the risk of our people contracting the virus, including the following:

  • Increased hand sanitisers across entire club facilities;
  • Implement a travel register for competitors and direct participants in events which will include questions around recent travel and current state of health;
  • Implementing regular “super clean” of the club’s facilities;
  • Require the postponement or cancellation of some events.

Under the advice from the relevant authorities, these are all important measures that we need to implement in the short to mid-term at least. There are likely to be more to come.

I would urge all our members and supporters to take their advice on Covid-19 only from reputable sources not the social media community and media outlets that have placed their own spin of the issue. By that I mean get your advice from the Commonwealth and State Departments of Health. These links to the following sites will provide you with the best information in relation to Covid-19 and I would urge you, if you have any concerns at all to check the most up to date information on Covid-19 here as these government health websites are updated on a daily basis:

https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/coronavirus#should-do

We will be making informed decisions based on expert opinions recommendations and rulings including those of the Australian and State Chief Medical Officers who have been advising our governments and Karting Australia’s Chief Medical Officer. 

Should it become necessary to consider the cancellation or postponement of any events, we will look wherever possible to make such a decision in conjunction with the host club, the promoter and the state association involved. However, if a hard decision needs to be made – we will make it in what we believe, on an informed basis, is in the best interests of the Karting Australia Family.

With the continuing spread of the Covid-19, Karting Australia is seeking to preserve the health of all who attend our Clubs and events.

We trust though that as a Karting Australia member or supporter, who is invested in the welfare of our people, you will understand the necessity of these precautions.

We understand this is a very unsettling period for the world at the moment. The idea of any disruption to our sport is a bitter pill to swallow, but common sense must prevail.

Please take all the necessary precautions to stay healthy, and we will keep you informed of any developments, particularly as they pertain to your membership and interaction with the Club through this difficult time.

Best Regards

Kelvin O’Reilly 
Karting Australia – Chief Executive Officer


LATEST NEWS FOLLOWING THE COAG MEETING TODAY

The full COAG media conference can be viewed HERE.

The Prime Minister and all State Premiers met today at COAG. The Prime Minister and Australia’s Chief Medical officer gave a lengthy media conference after the meeting.

It is clear from the reporting of the COAG Media Conference this afternoon that the comments by the Prime Minister and Australia’s Chief medical officer when referring to the advice to the government “against organised, non-essential gatherings of persons of 500 people” has and will be misinterpreted and mis-reported. The relevant transcript quotes about gatherings of 500 people or more follow at the bottom of this email so that you can see what was really said.

It is clear from the reporting of the COAG Media Conference this afternoon that the comments by the Prime Minister and Australia’s Chief medical officer when referring to the advice to the government “against organised, non-essential gatherings of persons of 500 people” have been misinterpreted and mis-reported already.

Prime Minister Morrison has said that by Monday the Government will be
“advising against organised, non-essential gatherings of persons of 500 people or greater from Monday. Now that doesn’t include schools, it doesn’t include university lectures or getting on public transport or going to airports of things of that nature.

These events that we are seeking to advise against or restrict is for non-essential organised gatherings of persons of 500 or more. Now there’ll be many issues to work through between now and Monday as we get the precise advice about the implementation of that advice to Australian around the country.”
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer reiterated that “the risk to the Australian community in general still remains low… we want to be as far ahead of the game as any country.”

When asked about the gatherings of 500 people of more Dr Murphy responded:

“Generally speaking we are talking about a static gathering where people are together for a period of perhaps up to two hours is generally where you have a high risk of exposure. Casual exposure walking through a train station or an airport is much much lower risk.

So we’re talking about those constant period of contact. 500 is the epidemic modelers around the world suggested that (500) is a reasonable number.”
Immediately the media started inaccurately reporting his statement. Watch the video in the link above to hear what he really said.

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