No-one could have foreseen the impact of a global pandemic. As the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded, plans for the World Tunnel Congress (WTC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in May were caught in a perfect storm.
In February, when the decision was taken to postpone the May WTC to September, the pandemic had yet to spread beyond Asia to Europe, North America and elsewhere. The five months of extra time seemed realistic for holding a physical conference in Kuala Lumpur in September. By May, when the pandemic made it clear that a physical gathering in Kuala Lumpur would be impossible, most of the world was in lockdown with all offices closed and staff working from home. When it came to managing the WTC in Kuala Lumpur, many in the organising team were unprepared for working from home. With no access to work computers or the necessary data, communications to handle queries from delegates, exhibitors, sponsors and others were delayed for weeks.