Globalisation is good for trade, technology and investment. It ensures the infrastructure and development essential for economic growth through increased transport links and the free flow of goods, services, people and ideas. But as the coronavirus has shown, it also contributes to the spreading of disease that has an adverse impact on what has been achieved. If governments are to prevent regular outbreaks of animal-borne infections, they have to look beyond simply treating and vaccinating. The border controls and suspension of flights amount to deglobalisation. They prevent the movement of trade and people and cut supply chains, limiting or stalling factory output. China’s importance to the global economy inevitably means a knock-on effect to other nations. At the root is the proximity of people to wildlife. Numerous infections have made the evolutionary jump to humans over the past half-century, usually with deadly results. HIV/Aids came from apes, while cats, birds, bats and pigs have been behind outbreaks such as Sars, bird flu, Ebola and swine flu. The coronavirus is believed to have come from a wet market in the Chinese city of Wuhan and was transmitted from snakes to bats and then people. Rapid urbanisation has encroached on habitats, while climate change is forcing species to alter where and how they live. Plentiful food supplies in cities lure animals from their natural habitats through garbage and discarded scraps. Increasingly exotic tastes mean creatures from ever-further afield are finding their way onto dinner tables. When viruses make the leap to humans, transmission among people is easier in cities, and modern transport networks and affordable air travel ensure infection spreads quickly. Disrupting transport networks is the best way to stop the spread, but when they are shut down, so is economic and social activity. Sars in 2003 is estimated to have cost the global economy US$40 billion, including treatment of victims. Surge in cases in South Korea but China reports fewer new infections The response then was as now with the coronavirus – border controls and educating about cleanliness and using face masks, while paying greater attention to wet markets, sanitation, waste management and pest control. After the crisis abates, attention falls, but the cycle repeats with each new outbreak. There is nothing new about people catching diseases from animals. But climate and environmental change, city-living and rapid transport mean that when viruses emerge, they can more rapidly spread and evolve. The devastating impact the coronavirus is having on the economy has to be avoided. After the infection has been beaten, better efforts have to be made to prevent disease through rethinking and changing the way we live.