Coronavirus: Australian F1 Grand Prix still under threat from epidemic

Next week's Australian Formula One Grand Prix will be postponed or cancelled, if racing giant Ferrari is denied entry into the country, due to the coronavirus.

On Thursday, the federal government confirmed it would introduce "enhanced screening" for travellers from Italy to help deal with the spread of the virus.

Most of Ferrari's squad of mechanics and support staff will arrive in Melbourne from Italy, with the company's famous headquarters based in Maranello.

Travellers from Italy will be asked mandatory questions at check-in. Anyone who fails the checks will be denied approval to board an aircraft.

"Those enhanced screening measures will be in place for those visitors who have been coming through Italy and, indeed, Australians who are coming back from Italy," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

If Ferrari are blocked from arriving in Australia, the F1 season opener at Albert Park would be abandoned, postponed or drastically altered.

F1 managing director Ross Brawn said, if any team was ruled out of competing, then a Grand Prix could not be held for series points.

"If a team is prevented from entering a country, we can't have a race," Brawn told Reuters. "Not a Formula One world championship race anyway, because that would be unfair.

"Obviously, if a team makes its own choice not to go to a race, that's their decision, but where a team is prevented from going to a race because of a decision of the country, then it's difficult to have a fair competition."

Four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel lives in Switzerland, while Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc is based in Monaco, so the pair could still travel to Australia.

The coronavirus has caused havoc in Italian sport, with the government ruling all sporting events are to be held behind closed doors until at least April 3.

The country's death toll from the coronavirus has exceeded 100.

As well as the upgraded advice for Italy, on Thursday, the Australian government announced on it would ban travellers from South Korea, after similar action relating to China and Iran.

Australian Grand Prix chief executive Andrew Westacott said earlier this week that "we are all systems go", but the situation has frequently changed since he issued that statement.

"The finishing touches are being put on the circuit, Formula 1 freight and personnel are arriving in the coming days, and we're looking forward to opening the gates to the public," Westacott said on Monday.