The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) have reported that four more people who arrived on a Qantas flight from LA to Sydney have tested positive for Human Swine Flu (known as Influenza A H1N1). Australia now has a confirmed record of 50 cases of Human Swine Flu, with the figures doubling in the past week.This total includes the positive test results of two children on board the Pacific Dawn cruise ship that has just arrived in Sydney. It is reported that during this outbreak: 130 other passengers were quarantined; the remaining 1800 disembarking passengers were asked to stay at home or in their hotels for up to seven days; and the ship eventually set sail 7 hours late with a whole new crew.The likelihood of an infectious disease shutting down your business may seem improbable. However, as seen in the recent reports there is the strong potential for businesses to have serious OHS and business continuity implications from such outbreaks.
During the initial Human Swine Flu out-break in Mexico, the Mexican government banned public events, issued advisories against gatherings across the country and closed schools nationwide. This move would have left the Venue Managers scrambling to reschedule and reorganize their events.
If Australia were to experience a Human Swine Flu Pandemic this could trigger the same cancellation of major public events and major public gatherings. The possibility of such measures was foreshadowed in last Saturday's SMH.
Risks to the events and venues industries from pandemics, other natural disasters or medical incidents should all be included in the organization's emergency management, crisis management and business continuity plans. An established and well communicated plan will prepare a venue to minimize disruption and resume business as early as possible.