WHO Emergency Expert Says Be Prepared: Host City 2020

(ATR) After Covid-19, sport events must be ready for future medical crises an expert tells delegates at Host City 2020.

(ATR) Even if a vaccine is successful in taming the coronavirus, sports event planners need to be ready for new medical crises to emerge.

"We need to be prepared for it. While we hope it doesn’t arrive, we need to be ready," warns Dr. Jaouad Mahjour, Assistant Director-General, Emergency Preparedness for the World Health Organization.

He spoke Dec. 8 at Host City 2020, the annual gathering for those involved in the staging of major events for business, sport and culture. Like so many other fixtures on the conferences calendar, Host City 2020 was held in a virtual mode as a result of the pandemic which cast a shadow over many of the agenda topics.

Other speakers at the conference have included IOC member Craig Reedie, Etienne Thobois from Paris 2024, Trinidad and Tobago NOC president Brian Lewis and Mexico Olympic Committee vice president Jimena Saldana.

In his update to Host City, Mahjour avoided declaring when he thought the events industry might see a return to normal.

"I trust the scientific community. I trust the wisdom of the leaders to come up with a solution together and show solidarity.

"If we continue with the vaccine and public health measures I hope we can come to normal, the new normal, very soon," Mahjour says.

A survey of Host City delegates shows a majority believethe return to normal will happen by 2022.

"If the pandemic has taught us anything, in the face of an emerging medical threat, the world can come together in new ways to defeat it," says Mahjour.

Regarding vaccine distribution, Mahjour acknowledges that the initial phase of production will be far from enough to meet worldwide demand.

"The international community will have to come together to prioritize those most in need of the vaccine. We strongly believe at WHO that for the world to benefit that it is better to give it to a few people in all countries rather than all people in some countries," he said.

On Dec. 9Around the Rings Editor Ed Hula moderates a panel on the future of events during the last day of the two-day conference. Speakers will include Jakob Larsen from World Athletics, Bridget Mary McConnell, Chief Executive Officer of Glasgow Life, and Geoff Ellis, CEO of DF Events. All three have experienced first-hand the cancellation of entertainment and sports events and the challenge of rebuilding the calendar.

Reported by Ed Hula.