Managing the pandemic becomes ‘business as usual’

Published on Tue, 14/12/2021 - 12:06

Emergence of the Omicron variant has demonstrated the looping nature of this pandemic – as we feared – according to a new publication by Airmic in partnership with Control Risks.

By late November, Covid-19 had not have gone away, but societies were learning to live with it. The pandemic was becoming endemic. Then the Omicron variant of the virus emerged, started spreading rapidly and now threatens to undo much of the post-pandemic recovery.

The report – The Pandemic Goes Endemic – says it’s unlikely that the emergency response will double back to the beginning, but we can expect repeats of the crisis response potentially twice, three times or more – until controls, such as the vaccinations, reach sufficient scale.

Based on a survey of 118 Airmic members conducted from 1 to 27 November 2021, The Pandemic Goes Endemic revisits the issues related to pandemic crisis management for organisations first discussed in the guide New challenges, new lessons: Covid-19 pandemic and the future of crisis management in September 2020.

New challenges, new lessons noted that there is no simple crisis management solution for the pandemic. It expected that the pandemic – as a crisis – would likely continue over several years and then in the longer term become part of ‘normality’. It highlighted that long-term planning had been critical, yet the initial responses to the pandemic largely focused on the near and shorter term.

This latest report argues that it is clear there will be ever newer variants of Covid-19, or even new pandemics, especially as human populations encroach further on other animal habitats. “All this accentuates the need for risk professionals to look beyond the present Covid-19 crisis,” it states.

Risk professionals and their organisations need to learn the lessons, boost preparedness and build resilience, in order to steer through the looping nature of the current pandemic and its consequences for their people and their operations, especially supply chains.

“But before building organisational resilience, organisations must first learn the lessons and boost preparedness. If the correct lessons are not captured and learnt, then organisations cannot prepare for the next wave of the pandemic or for other such crises. And if they are found wanting in preparedness, they will not find themselves becoming the kind of resilient organisation they need to be in this age of heightened uncertainty and volatility,” the report concludes.