The global coronavirus pandemic is turning into the most severe challenge for humanity since World War II, as the Covid-19 disease has infected more than a half million people across the world, closed national borders and frozen many economic activities . Many are saying that the world will never be the same again. But it would be unwise to use the crisis as a reason to bury globalisation once and for all. The outbreak has exposed problems with globalisation, but we do not have to throw the baby out with the bathwater. On the contrary, the coronavirus offers a chance to forge a better version of globalisation. To begin with, a more divided world in no way guarantees public health crises will no longer occur. The 1918 Spanish flu pandemic claimed 100 million lives and the Black Death killed even more people, both when the world was fragmented. Periodic outbreaks of infectious diseases have plagued humanity throughout history, and, more than anything, it was progress in science and healthcare that accounted for the gradual decline in fatalities and damages. In fact, better healthcare, nutrition access and sanitation facilities, empowered by economic development and globalisation, have helped human beings to survive epidemics. It would be wrong to blame globalisation for pandemics like coronavirus. Secondly, it is much better for human beings to respond to a threat like coronavirus as one connected community. Information sharing and the exchange of prevention practises are key to contain the virus. That is why it is particularly worrying to see the blame game between Beijing and Washington threatening to Balkanise global efforts. Even as borders are shut to reduce the flow of people at the moment, global commerce continues to play a crucial role to ensure the supply of medical equipment as we fight the pandemic. For instance, the crisis may have already subsided in China, but Chinese companies are working 24/7 as ventilator orders pour in from the rest of the world. Similarly, as many as several dozen pharmaceutical companies from around the world are racing to develop a vaccine and treatments for the virus, knowing they will be able to recoup investments in the global marketplace. Just imagine how much harder this battle would be if countries were left to their own domestic supply chains or scientific knowledge. Finally, it is exactly the lack of global coordination that may have exacerbated the outbreak. China’s initial attempts to cover up reporting of the virus, the United States’ early neglect of the threat and its ongoing testing debacle , as well as Britain’s initial flirtation with herd immunity are just a few examples of national blunders that hastened the transmission of the virus and had little to do with globalisation. US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw epidemiologists based in China and to put hefty tariffs on Chinese medical products may well have made the health crisis worse than it had to be. The coronavirus, however, could be a chance to improve globalisation. Globalisation based solely on trade and financial flows, without proper governance and powerful institutions, has proved vulnerable to public health challenges. Institutions like the World Health Organisation have proved weak in terms of funding, capacity and power. The outbreak, therefore, should serve as an awakening to a world economy that has put priority on economic integration over public health, environment and climate concerns. As the fight to contain the coronavirus continues, many believe this crisis will bring an end to globalisation as we know it. However, the disintegration of world ties is neither feasible nor desirable. The coronavirus should not be an excuse to bury globalisation, instead, it should be a chance to make it better. Jack Gao is a New York-based economist with the Institute for New Economic Thinking Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.