Melbourne is very excited as the lockdown restrictions ease and the city is busily reopening. Meanwhile in the Northern Hemisphere, the UK and America are experiencing their second wave, which is looming as providing far more infections and deaths than their first waves. We ponder the question, is COVID 19 likely to re-emerge in Australia during the Autumn of 2021?
Compelling evidence can be found by the Northern Hemisphere experiencing their second wave in their Autumn. Many might argue that Australia has just experienced its second wave over the last few months, however the initial infections were largely returning airline and sea travellers, who landed into the country with the infection, which they contracted in Asia and the Northern Hemisphere.
New Zealand considered that it had eradicated COVID 19, until August when a family of 3 were all infected with the virus. Prior to this New Zealand had been COVID 19 free for 100 days. The family of 3 led to a further 146 infections. So, as we witness Victoria and New South Wales having low infection numbers, and the other States and Territories having zero infections for prolonged periods, the Auckland cluster, as it was termed in New Zealand warns us the virus is likely to re-emerge, particularly next Autumn.
As a business, please consider that the virus is not gone, this state is likely to be temporary, and we must plan for the worst (a return) and hope for the best (a vaccine is readily available, or the virus disappears). Businesses must also put effort into:
- Reviewing the recent lockdowns, and what went well and note items for improvement (or not to do again)
- Understand the business efficiency and how this can be enhanced with people working from home
- Document a response plan for future pandemic outbreaks
- Check in with customers and understand their experience or how well they feel they were dealt with
- Realistically appraise your workflows and IT systems to see if there is adaption required for work from home and customer contact, ordering etc.
- Update or develop your business continuity plan
Documenting a response plan based on the learning for the current lockdown is an opportunity to be ready for the potential next lockdown and to ensure that the business learns. If Australia follows the US and Europe, we are likely to have a similar Autumn and Winter in 2021. Be ready for it!