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2006 SUMMIT COVERAGE: Business leaders urged to plan for severe flu pandemic

By on November 18, 2020

first_img “All of us now depend on imported products, and all of that depends on the free movement of people and goods across national borders,” Cooper said. Travel now accounts for 10% of the world’s gross economic activity and 8% of jobs, she added. Parallels between 1918 virus and H5N1Osterholm sought to background the audience on the science of pandemics in an hour-long talk he called “Influenza 101.” A major theme was that recent research has uncovered chilling similarities between the H5N1 avian influenza virus now circulating in Asia and the H1N1 flu virus that took the world by storm in 1918. In a question period later, Falvey was asked how aware the business world is about the pandemic threat. “I don’t think everyone is getting it, but companies that provide pandemic-related products and services are,” she said. “There’s lots of movement at the highest levels in America to plan for this.” About 300 people, mostly business officials, are attending the 2-day meeting, called Business Planning for Pandemic Influenza: A National Summit, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The meeting is sponsored by CIDRAP and the US and Minnesota Chambers of Commerce. Among the “immediate losers” in a pandemic would be tourism, transportation, the hospitality industry, life and health insurers, and the entertainment industry, Cooper said. Major economic impact predictedEconomic strategist Dr. Sherry Cooper painted a gloomy picture of the potential economic effects of a pandemic on today’s densely interwoven world. “I think it comes down to the concepts in the law of foreseeability and reasonable response to foreseeable risks,” she concluded. She advised businesses to expect absenteeism rates of about 30% at the peak of a pandemic, along with “months of slowdown.” Researchers recently have concluded that the 1918 virus jumped directly from birds to humans, which bears comparison with the way the H5N1 avian virus is infecting some humans, though it has not spread from person to person. Further, certain mutations seen in the 1918 virus have also been found in H5N1 viruses, Osterholm said. The good news in all this gloom is that “98% of the population will survive,” Cooper said. “It’s not the end of the world.” Leavitt sounded themes that he has used repeatedly in state meetings on pandemic preparedness around the country, warning that every business, government agency, community, school, organization, and household should develop and test a pandemic preparedness plan. She said the pandemic threat poses a dilemma for preparedness advocates in business. “Pre-pandemic we can sound alarmist, yet post-pandemic we can look as if we didn’t do enough,” she said. The foreseeable consequences of a pandemic, she said, include economic losses, supply-chain disruptions, employee absenteeism, quarantines and travel restrictions, an increase in demand for health care, and a decline in tourism. The flu drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) also has its limitations, he said. “The way we use Tamiflu now may not work for H5N1—it’s likely to be needed at a much higher dosage for a much longer time period.” Utility service could be disrupted. “Imagine no waste management, no clean water, no electricity—not just for a couple of days, but perhaps for weeks,” she said. Fuel shortages, consumer hoarding of things like bottled water, shortages of medical supplies, and other difficulties would make matters worse. Most juries in liability suits understand that accidents happen and human errors occur, Falvey said. “What juries don’t forgive is a failure to assess, a failure to act, to commit money and resources to deal with a problem,” and to involve top management in that effort, she said. For example, Falvey said she represented a refinery operator in Belize that worked for years to prevent an explosion. The company had a computerized alarm system, and officials worked with neighborhood groups and local doctors to prepare them to respond. When the company landed in court, Falvey reported, “What happened was that the jurors respected the process of planning and due diligence. . . . They didn’t penalize the company for a failed alarm system, because there was a documented record of monthly tests. That kind of evidence of planning and proactive efforts at mitigation and relief helps limit your liability.” Cooper, executive vice president of BMO Financial Group in Toronto, said the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak in Toronto hinted at the possible impact of a pandemic. The virus infected only 252 people and caused 44 deaths in the city, but that was enough to trigger the quarantine of 15,000 people. Hospitals filled up and had to stop all nonessential services, while the World Health Organization warned against traveling to Toronto, causing tourism to collapse. She also advised the audience to educate their employees on pandemic-related risks and on company policies. “Planning will lead to a much calmer environment,” she concluded. “Let’s hope these plans won’t be put to use any time soon.” “Jurors want to know that there was an adequate planning process and that all possibilities were considered, and they were balanced,” she said. Careful risk assessment urged Attorney Cheryl Falvey advised business leaders to carefully assess the risks a flu pandemic would pose and then take documented steps to limit them. Falvey is a partner with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Field LLP in Washington, DC. Feb 14, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Speakers at a national conference in Minneapolis today sought to impress business leaders with the potentially disastrous effects of an influenza pandemic without scaring them into thinking that preparing for one is futile. “We can’t hope our way out of this, and we can’t just sit and say, ‘Woe is me.’ Comprehensive and serious planning is not optional,” said Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of the CIDRAP Web site. Falvey invited business people to imagine what kind of lawsuit they could face in the aftermath of a pandemic. Cooper spoke of the “blurring” of national economic boundaries in a world of multinational corporations, global travel, and international supply chains focused on “just-in-time” delivery of parts and products. In opening the session, US Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said the Hurricane Katrina disaster taught the lesson that “the unthinkable happens, and we need to be thinking about the unthinkable.” He warned that modern medicine won’t offer a great deal of protection in the first several months of a pandemic flu, if ever. Given the time it takes to develop and produce a vaccine for a new flu strain, “Don’t count on a vaccine to get us out of this, at least in the first stage,” he said. In such a world, a severe pandemic would mean a sharp economic downturn, Cooper said. “It is our rough estimate that . . . the global economy would lose roughly six percentage points worth of growth in a 3-month period. It would mean the economy would decline at a 2% annual rate.” The US economy would take a $670 billion hit, she estimated. He recounted watching figure skater Sarah Hughes turn in the performance of her life in the 2002 Winter Olympic games in Salt Lake City, when he was governor of Utah, and said that the pandemic threat should elicit a comparable preparedness effort. “We as a public health community and as a business community need to skate the performance of our lives,” he said. The meeting brought predictions that a major pandemic would put the world economy into reverse and could kill more people than the pandemic of 1918, in which an estimated 50 million to 100 million died. But speakers also said that even in such a disaster, 98% of people would survive, and preparation for “foreseeable risks” will help businesses weather the storm with less damage and legal liability. Despite the precautions, the feared explosion finally occurred—and the computerized alarm system failed in the event, she said. “You need to develop a record to show that management has met its obligations to its various constituencies,” such as customers, employees, shareholders, subsidiaries, and the community, she said. Echoing a point made by Cooper, Falvey urged businesses to make sure they have sick leave and medical policies that don’t discourage workers from staying home when sick. “I can’t come to any other conclusion than that H5N1 and the 1918 H1N1 [viruses] are kissing cousins of the highest order,” he said. Osterholm was asked if he would advise people to stockpile oseltamivir. In reply, he admitted that he has stockpiled some himself, as have colleagues who have been known to counsel the opposite. But he also said it’s essential to make sure there are adequate supplies of antivirals and other medical products for healthcare workers and first responders.last_img read more

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Mato Franković, City of Dubrovnik: The blockade of the entrance to the historic core from Pila has never happened, which has been a regular occurrence in recent years.

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first_imgHe is in Dubrovnik at the beginning of the year presented the project ‘Respect the city’ by which the city administration wants to ensure the sustainability of Dubrovnik tourism and avoid a situation in which it will ‘become a victim of its own success’.Unbearable summer crowds and literally congestion of the center and the old town have plagued the City of Dubrovnik for years, but given the constant growth of tourist arrivals (last year Dubrovnik had the highest number of overnight stays in Croatia, and is among the cities with the highest tourist growth), the situation has become such that CNN ‘advertises’ Dubrovnik as one of the 12 destinations to be avoided and UNESCO has threatened to revoke its World Heritage status.In order to prevent further congestion and spontaneous development of mass tourism, and – as they say – the degradation of identity and cultural and natural values, the City decided to act urgently and launched the Respect the City project aimed at a series of short, medium and long term measures and solutions. improve the positive effects of tourism and reduce its negative effects.What is the situation today after the tourist season from the city of Dubrovnik commented that the numerous measures implemented over the past year have given visible results already this season. “There has never been a blockade of the entrance to the historic core from Pila, which has been a regular occurrence in recent years. ” Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković emphasized, presenting the short-term activities and measures of the project “Let’s Respect the City”. He especially referred to the image of Dubrovnik in foreign media and cited as an example articles in world-famous media that predicted Dubrovnik’s “death” due to a large number of tourists, and after a year, the mayor said, they report positive management of the destination. “As citizens, we need to be aware that we live off tourism and that it will always be crowded, but it is up to us to make the city more passable. We can’t solve all the problems in a year, but we can do it in the long run”, Said the mayor, referring to the biggest problem in the city, and that is the congestion of roads as a result of liberalization of the taxi market, which was regulated during the summer months with the help of Dubrovnik-Neretva Police and Traffic Police of Dubrovnik.DUBROVNIK FINALLY REDUCES THE ARRIVAL OF THE CRUISER. FROM NEXT YEAR, A MAXIMUM TWO CRUISERS A DAY IN DUBROVNIKThe mayor emphasized the strategic control over the port area, adding that by some chance, a year ago, we handed over the concessioned area to a French-Turkish consortium or someone else so that today they would not be able to do anything or take any measures in that area. He also stated that the measures taken on a better schedule of cruiser arrivals and better coordination of all competent services have already resulted in less crowds this year, and measures for next year, when the number of cruisers is limited to two a day, will further improve the situation. All this was achieved in cooperation with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), an association with which the City of Dubrovnik initiated contact.The mayor also commented on the ban on excursion buses on Thursdays and Saturdays from destinations outside Dubrovnik, the installation of ropes on Pile, which regulates pedestrian traffic, relieving Pile of illegal bookers, and announced a smaller load on the historic core in terms of traffic and parking. He stressed that Pile must be a place of embarkation and disembarkation, and not a major detention. “We plan to build a garage in Vukovarska Street, near DTS, and arrange parking on the cable car. After that, the area around the historic core would be only for parking of citizens, and visitors would come by public city transport. Also, they would provide a thousand parking spaces on the Coast”, He explained.The leader of the “Respect the City” project, Ranko Milić, identified spontaneous tourism, reduced quality of life and endangered heritage as central problems, the key topics according to which are people, tourism management, sustainable development and sustainable transport. He pointed out Gruž as an untapped development potential of the city, and added that with the valorization of summer houses and renaissance gardens, ‘new values’ can be created and the perception that Dubrovnik is not just a historical core can be expanded.”We want to create an app that is designed by inviting people to get involved in an adventure. The idea is that through this they communicate expectations and experiences and that they co-create a goat platform and thus create routes through which people will see what interests them. She will suggest how to make the best use of time and avoid crowds”, Explained Milić, who also presented the idea of ​​the Dubrovnik ferry, which would transport passengers from Gruž to the historic center, and according to later possibilities to Župa and Konavle.In a later discussion on the need to increase the capacity of roads according to the already developed transport strategy, Deputy Mayor Orlando Tokić said that the traffic study from 2012 was unfeasible because a lot had changed.”The new analysis will cover the entire city, and the greatest emphasis is on Gruž, where we want to create a new urban center with green areas, a market, pedestrian and parking zones. The goal is to relocate traffic, integrate historic gardens and create new attractions where guests would stay. Due to all this, a number of projects are generated from the potential location of the tunnel that would go from Lapad station to the exit from the city, above-ground garages, summer houses… Certainly, this is a package of projects with large financial costs, and one of the first is Lapad coast”, Said Deputy Tokić.”Let’s respect the City” also received a visual solutionThe visual identity of the “Respect the City” project was presented on Monday, and is the work of the Flomaster studio, by Dubrovnik designer Orsat Franković. The visual identity is derived simply from the initials of the basic words of the name in Croatian and English, based on their similarity (P and R, G and C). The final form is associatively associated with traditional global trademarks (Copyright and Registered Trade Mark). “It unites all activities and is performed in a simple way. A communication strategy has been defined, which is intended for foreign countries, but also for the local population. T-shirts with the logo can be used by municipal wardens, they can also apply to Sanitat’s umbrellas, Libertas buses, strategists and the like ” explained Deputy Mayor Jelka Tepšić.The visual identity will be applied to various materials and will form the basis for the communication of various contents, messages and actions aimed primarily at visitors, but also citizens from the city of Dubrovnik.last_img read more

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