Speaking Of Asia: Pandemics a national security issue now

Disease, as a threat, is less obvious than conventional or nuclear war but is not to be taken lightly due to devastation it can leave in its wake

Approaching Cavenagh Bridge on my way to a dinner in Boat Quay last week, I was mildly surprised to see people ahead of me deliberately giving a wide berth to a family of three with evidently Chinese features and wearing surgical face masks. The trio were taking pictures of themselves against the bridge, with The Fullerton Hotel in the backdrop.

For a moment, my instinct was to do the same and avoid passing too closely. With all the talk of the coronavirus - which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan - spreading from human to human, why take risks?

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 07, 2020, with the headline 'Pandemics a national security issue now'. Print Edition | Subscribe