Report on International Symposium: Mass Gathering and Public Health Preparedness during COVID-19 pandemic – now online!

We are pleased to announce the publication of our report on the International symposium on mass gathering and public health preparedness during COVID-19 pandemic on January 13, 2022.

Some of the videos and handouts are available here.

Keynote: Planning for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in a Pandemic; Challenges and Lessons
Dr. Brian McCloskey/Public Health Adviser, International Olympic Committee and Senior Consulting Fellow, Global Health Programme, Chatham House, London
COVID-19 preparedness for Tokyo2020
Tomoya SAITO, MD, MPH, PhD/Director, Center for Emergency Preparedness and Response, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japan
Tokyo2020 preparedness and response efforts in NIID
Tomoe SHIMADA, MD, PhD/Center for Field Epidemic Intelligence, Research and Professional Development, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japan
Activities and issues of Academic Consortium of medical preparedness during Tokyo Olympic/Paralympic Games in 2020
Naoto MORIMURA, MD, PhD/Professor and Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, Teikyo University
The role of TOCOG’s IDCC for COVID-19 measures in the Games
Satoshi SHIMADA, MD, PhD/Former Director of Public Health, Department of Medical Service, The Tokyo Organisation Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games
Host city’s public health activities: Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Yoshiyuki SUGISHITA, MD, MPH, PhD/Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Host city’s public health activities: Hokkaido Prefecture
Yasuhiko ISHI, MD/Hokkaido Government


Mass gathering events, such as the Olympics and other large-scale international events, require preparation and response to various risks. In addition to securing the safety of those involved in the event, organizers should ensure that the local medical and public health systems are not negatively affected. Japan has experienced various large-scale international mass gathering events, and the focus has been on emergency medical care and mass disaster preparedness. However, the importance of preparedness for public health emergencies, such as infectious disease outbreaks, has also been highlighted. The Research Group on Health Security for Mass Gatherings/High Profile Events, funded by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) Health Science Research Fund has investigated public health preparedness in various mass gatherings and high-profile events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo2020) and the G20 Summit. The Research Group organized the first International Symposium on Mass Gathering and Public Health Preparedness in 2019 to introduce countermeasures and lessons learned from mass-gathering events in 2019 and preparations for Tokyo2020. However, the subsequent outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spotlighted COVID-19 countermeasures at mass gatherings.
This symposium reviewed Tokyo2020, an international mass gathering event that took place in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, through the presentations of seven speakers. The presentations provided an overview of infection prevention and control for Tokyo2020, infectious disease surveillance and response, medical systems, efforts, achievements, and challenges from the perspectives of the International Olympic Committee, Organising Committee, and host city. It was recognized that new organizations and collaborative frameworks were introduced, functioned well, and were strengthened, and that the introduction of digital technologies such as online conferencing during the pandemic also contributed to this. The speakers also emphasized the importance of flexibility, as in the context of COVID-19, many factors were in flux. Although Tokyo2020 is considered to have been a success, issues related to risk communication to people not involved in it were also raised in the discussion.