The COVID-19 pandemic posed enormous challenges to countries and municipalities worldwide. Cities with robust governance and health infrastructure tended to be more capable to manage the pandemic and to experience lower mortality rates. Furthermore, a combination of proactive surveillance, routine communication, rapid isolation, personal and community protection (e.g., social distancing) and rapid vaccinations have proven to be effective measures in combating the pandemic. These measures tend to be most effectively developed, coordinated and implemented when cities have holistic crisis management in place, including municipal crisis teams.
Cities play a key role in pandemic mitigation and post-pandemic recovery, for which it is necessary to evaluate their municipal response strategies. By understanding underlying challenges, joint concepts for pandemic control can be developed and a socially, environmentally and economically appropriate and just recovery from the crisis can be facilitated.
Another sector that deserves attention is the education sector, which has been severely impacted by school and day-care closures during COVID-19 induced lockdowns. In order to avoid massive loss of education during future pandemic or crisis situations, cities are now challenged to establish effective and agile municipal crisis management for their educational facilities.