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Formula E cancels China round due to coronavirus

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Formula E has cancelled its round in China, which was due to take place in March, due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Last week the World Health Organisation declared the virus, which is believed to have killed 300 people so far, is an international public health emergency. The first death from the virus outside China, which occured in the Philippines, was reported this weekend.

The coronavirus originated in Wuhan, which lies 700 kilometres north of Sanya, where Formula E was scheduled to race next month.

“In view of the continued spread of coronavirus and after close consultation with the relevant departments of Hainan Province and Sanya Municipal Government, Formula E – together with the FIA, the Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of People’s Republic of China (CAMF), and regional partner Enova Holdings – have jointly decided not to race in Sanya on the scheduled date of March 21, 2020,” the championship announced in a statement.

“Given the current growing health concerns and with the World Health Organisation declaring the coronavirus an international emergency, Formula E has taken the necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of its travelling staff, championship participants and spectators, which remains of paramount importance.”

The organisers are prepared to reschedule the race if it is possible to hold it later in the season. “We are working closely with our regional partner and the local authorities in Hainan Province and Sanya Municipal Government, to continue monitoring the situation as it develops,” the statement continued. “All parties will take the appropriate amount of time to study the viability of potential alternative dates should the situation improve.”

The cancellation of the race, as well as other major international sporting events in China, will cast further doubt on whether Formula 1’s Chinese Grand Prix can go ahead at the Shanghai International Circuit in April.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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34 comments on “Formula E cancels China round due to coronavirus”

  1. I think it’s the correct decision and taken with a good notice period. Better than stringing folk along to the last minute.

  2. Coronavirus – killed 300 people in several months. Mass hysteria, panic, locked cities, cancelled events.

    Flu – kills 2000 people daily. Nobody does nothing.

    This world is totally broken.

    1. This world is totally broken.

      It took the response to the coronavirus for you to realize that? Duh.

      Besides, there are flu shots, so there exists a measure of control/management. The same cannot be said – yet – for the virus that is also likely killing sales of a particular brand of beer.

      1. Wait! You get the flu from beer? Thought it was just a hangover.

        1. @jimmi-cynic:
          Drink (too much) beer -> Immediately make poor decisions -> Getting the flu is probably the best outcome ;)

          1. There is a cure for the corona virus, just add lime it is much more palatable.

      2. Wrong.
        You can barely protect yourself from 3 strands of Flu.
        And you can’t do anything with 100 others.

        Good luck

    2. John Richards (@legardforpresident)
      2nd February 2020, 10:56

      @dallein A very thick comment and completely irresponsible and in a way. The difference between the flu and a coronavirus is that in one case, we have the ability, detect, contain and control. For the other we don’t, take a wild guess which one isn’t controllable (yet). The antiviral drugs we have against flu won’t work. If people are admitted to hospital with 2019-nCov, they may get support for their lungs and other organs as well as fluids. Recovery will depend on the strength of their immune system. Many of those who have died were already in poor health. So chances of recovery vary. So if you’re saying the world is broken, on a site dedicated to a Formula 1, then your reach is a bit narrow isn’t it? Think wisely. You were trying to sound smart, but in reality, you sounded like a cricket in a tin pot.

      1. @legardforpresident, not to mention that the original poster left out the topic of the mortality rate, which is where there is a significant difference.

        In the case of normal flu viruses, the chances of dying from it are extremely low – the mortality rate is normally about 0.1%. That claimed rate of 2000 deaths per day – which WHO and independent research indicates is probably at least a factor of two too high, so DAllein could be equally criticised for spreading hysterical misinformation – only sounds high because normal flu viruses infect such a large number of people, but in reality the chances of dying from normal flu viruses are extremely low and only really impact those whose immune systems were already compromised (mainly those who are elderly, who make up around two thirds of those mortality statistics).

        There is a debate over the mortality rate for 2019-nCov, but very early estimates by the WHO suggest it could be as high as 2-4% – whilst not as extreme as some outbreaks, such as SARS, that initial estimate suggests a mortality rate that is potentially quite a bit higher than normal seasonal flu outbreaks and thus would present a more significant risk to the wider population if it were to become particularly widespread.

        It is also extremely misleading to claim that “Nobody does nothing” for normal flu viruses either, given the research and wide availability of flu vaccines – with a number of nations making those vaccines available to the general public at low cost, or free altogether for those who are in the most vulnerable categories.

        1. 500000-600000 dead people a year from Flu is the numbers from WHO, check stats for previous years.

          Mortality rate for Flu and this coronavirus is almost identical.

          You can deny this of course as much as you want.

        2. And no, I am not spreading hysteria.

          I just presented real-life information about Flu and highlighted that nobody cares about it, whereas for something much smaller we have a global panic.

          Somebody just thought it would be beneficial to have a panic about coronavirus, that’s it simple and ugly.

          The same people decided that mouths should be shut about Flu another deceases (btw, check how many people die yearly because of diarrhea… you will be surprised), because it is beneficial.
          Again simple and ugly.

          1. Flu is heavily researched, vaccines produced (to the best of our current ability), treatments manufactured. Its untrue that nothing is done and nobody cares.

            Comparing the entire family of flu viruses to one CoV strain (2019-nCoV) isn’t a fair comparison either.

            And none of this considers that 2019-nCoV binds – poorly – to ACE2 to infect. It needs only minor mutations for a significant jump in severity.

            Containment is absolutely a sensible strategy.

          2. @dallein, even with the figures that you quote, it is a clear exaggeration to claim that there are 2,000 fatalities a day due to flu. That would equate to 730,000 per annum, which is 25 to 50% higher than that 500,000-600,000 range you are citing – exaggerating those figures by 25-50% is spreading hysteria.

            I would also disagree with your claim that you “presented real-life information about Flu”, because I have actually read the studies, and the criticism of those studies, that were behind the WHO reports.

            Firstly, you are only choosing to quote the extreme upper bound estimates from those studies, rather than the median value from those studies – that is presenting a distorted picture of the situation as you are picking a statistically unlikely outlier.

            The 2017 report from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), which the WHO adopted to give the upper bound values that you are quoting, has also been criticised for the way in which it chose to extrapolate from the dataset that it used to reach the global figures, with the suggestion that the method they used to extrapolate out to those figures is potentially oversimplified and overestimates the mortality rate.

            Furthermore, it is also worth noting that those figures were of mortality “associated” with influenza viruses. Those figures include people who had flu as a secondary infection, but the cause of death was due to a different disease – for example, if a person had pneumonia and then a secondary flu infection, their death would be recorded as “influenza associated” even if the primary cause of death was in fact pneumonia.

            For a more considered analysis, here is a research article published in December 2019 from the Global Influenza Mortality project which quoted a best estimate of 389,000 influenza associated deaths per annum. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6815659/

            Note that research article does also include individuals from the CDC that produced the original report the WHO draws upon, but now acknowledge that the original methodology to extrapolate mortality rates globally was potentially flawed and overestimated mortality rates. It also clearly states that it is an “influenza associated” estimate, and therefore includes individuals for whom flu was not the primary cause of death.

            To therefore claim that flu kills that many people per year is a gross overestimate, both because it extrapolates to the extremes of available data sets, not the most credible figures, and because it includes individuals for whom flu was not the primary cause of death and for whom it would be incorrect to say that they were killed by flu.

          3. Thanks anon, OldIron for injecting some more facts – @dallein, I am glad that you attempt to use facts (even if they are not as solid as you presented them) to make your point, and I do agree that for most of us, in daily life, the flu is the more practical thing to look out for (we had a party last weekend, one guest didn’t want to come by train, bc. of coronavirus, which seemed a bit, well, off), but as the other posters show, taking measures against this virus is important. You could even say: we are already doing most we can against ‘common’ flu, as the different strands are widely spread to many corners of the world, but for most of the world, isolating and hopefully eradicating this coronavirus is the best way to contain it.

      2. You are calling 2000 dead people a day – keeping Flu under control?

        You are either denying truth and reality, or you are childishly naive.

        Beside “Flu Shots” are barely protecting against 3 known stands of virus, and are totally useless against others.

        1. The flu hits hundreds of million of people every year. If 2019-nCov gets to spread that much, and keeps its mortality rate, we’re talking millions of dead.

          Now will we hit those numbers? Probably not. But that is mostly down to taking precautions and being prepared. Those same precautions you are arguing against, for some weird reason.

    3. Also…

      Nobody does nothing.

      So somebody/everybody does something? Yup, that’s right.

    4. GtisBetter (@)
      2nd February 2020, 12:57

      The world is fine. It’s just your view that is broken. Good thing you aren’t in charge of any relevant decision making on a global scale.

      1. It is awful people like you are truth-denying

      2. And, as you started, what is broken in my views?

        That 2000 dead people a day from Flu is notbetter than 300 dead peoplefrom Coronavirus?
        That big pharmacy companies are “racing to produce vaccines” for Coronavirus, but ultimately don’t care about Flu?
        That WHO and everyone around are a bunch of hypocrites?

        Tell me.

        1. What is broken is that you are just aping a view that you think is cool and smart because it sounds contrarian, without understanding that
          a) we don’t yet know the number of deaths that will be caused by the Coronavirus once it spreads worldwide, like the flu does. Comparing numbers when the Corona virus is just getting started is meaningless.
          b) this Coronavirus may still be contained. Even if it were less deadly than the flu, it would still be wise to try to contain it while there’s still a chance to do so.

    5. This is the difference between an endemic illness and a pandemic one.

      The “common-or-garden” types of flu do indeed kill thousands a day. However, they are widespread, and easily spread further even with containment measures such as China is deploying. As such, it is computed into the background risk level for all locations that have flu exposure. Only people who are unusually vulnerable (for example, thouse whose immune systems are suppressed) therefore get quarantine measures – and that is to keep the flu out, not in. This is, generally, how endemic illnesses are treated, be they worldwide like flu, or regional such as malaria.

      However, sometimes you will hear of an unusual strain of flu in the news – H5N1 for example – that is unusually aggressive, at least average communicability, and is spotted early enough to attempt containment measures. If this fails, and the unusual flu strain skips the quarantined zone, that’s a pandemic. The difference between a pandemic and an endemic illness is that a pandemic can generally expect to be brought under some sort of control. However, the measures to achieve this will end up on the news because of the need for mass co-operation. Sometimes, they cause governments to appear to be applying a sledgehammer to crack a walnut.

      It can be difficult to know whether a government has crossed the line between “appear to be” and “is”. However, what is certain is that an illness that is stopped at the pandemic stage will kill fewer people than if it is allowed to adapt into the viral ecosystem and become endemic. After all, every “A” strain of the endemic flu – which still kills some people today – is because the 1918-1919 flu pandemic couldn’t be completely stopped by the global medical systems devastated by war. (The group of common/endemic flus in people also includes “B” and “C” strains, at least some of which originated over 2000 years ago).

      If treating the coronavirus using pandemic protocols stops it from becoming endemic like flu, I’m all for it. And if that means we can’t race Formula E in China this March, then so be it.

    6. Still peddling your nonsense? Another bedroom expert. Jeez.

    7. Chinas horrible government is alone enough of a reason not to race there but this virus makes it a no brainer. FE should be protecting its drivers and fans

    8. Coronavirus is a total over exaggeration and now the Chinese govt is even accusing the US of the obvious over reaction. Less than 2% mortality rate similar to any flu outbreak which is the elderly and those with existing illnesses. It’s an attack on the Chinese economy, a great way for the pharmaceutical companies to make money and an even better distraction from Trumps corruption coverup in the senate trial.

      1. How can the US be accused of overreacting when China is quarantining their public and banning public gatherings?

        They’re following China’s lead.

    9. We have a cure for flu. We dont have one for Corona virus (yet).

  3. I suspect by March/April, the virus will be either completely global, in which case China won’t be the only problem country or will have fizzled out, so there’s probably no real case to avoid “Just” China.

    It’s already spread to quite a few countries. At what point do we say “let’s not travel anywhere” because of the risk of exacerbating the spread of the virus?

    1. At what point do we say “let’s not travel anywhere” because of the risk of exacerbating the spread of the virus?

      @dbradock – I have faith in organizations like the WHO and the CDC for them to have modeled the spread of diseases due to globalization, and to have thresholds in place where they start taking more stringent measures. They would have balanced the cost of lives impacted/lost (harsh reality, but there is likely a metric of this name/purpose) to the cost shutting down international travel/transport.

      Now, whether the politicians listen to the experts remains to be seen, but as this is a fast-evolving situation (unlike something like global warming) and has caught public attention, I think the experts will be heard.

    2. China has instructed all sports events involving international participation before April to be cancelled, so it’s a moot point regarding Formula E in this instance. No point turning up to find the visas are invalid due to travelling against government instructions…

      On a broader scale, there is no point where “let’s not travel anywhere” is likely to happen. If it gets widespread and common enough, the illness goes from “pandemic” to “endemic”, at which point the pandemic measures (such as quarantine attempts) are likely to be exchanged for the boilerplate advice “be more careful of your hygeine when travelling than when at home” and removal of travel restrictions to those places where an equilibrium appears to have been established.

  4. Yet again, Formula E beating F1 to the latest trend.

    1. @jimmi-cynic – COL (chuckled out loud) :)

  5. José Lopes da Silva
    2nd February 2020, 13:05

    Don’t feed the trolls.

  6. I work for a company that ships a lot of China and we already have been told we can’t until further notice due to the problems of storage as everything has ground to a halt as people aren’t working and everything has naturally backed up.

    With that in mind not racing is the only decision but I think everyone should be aware of the bigger concerns to economies if this carries on. Formula E and F1 are small fry really.

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