By the time you read this SA’s coronavirus infections are likely to have exceeded 1,200, with several deaths. The scale of the spread of the virus and the interventions required to contain it are unprecedented. It might not be the first virus of its kind, but it occurs in a global context that differs from the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.

World War 1 might have internationalised that pandemic, but globalised systems of trade, exchange, communication and travel as a feature of everyday life have made the contagion effects of the coronavirus on the health and livelihoods of so many much more severe.

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