The War on COVID-19: The 9/11 of Health Security?

The coronavirus pandemic represents a turning point in security studies, shedding light on the importance of the health of populations for sustaining the political, economic, and social health of the nation-state. Playing a role akin to the 9/11 events in propelling terrorism at the forefront of the global security agenda, COVID-19 reshuffles national security priorities. As such, the securitization of health has allowed the implementation of drastic exceptional measures aimed at containing the pandemic. However, as states increasingly turn inwards, the international community is losing momentum to multilaterally respond to the crisis and build sustainable health systems that can absorb the shocks of future disease outbreaks. For this purpose, this paper explores the politicization and securitization of COVID-19, and how it can set the basis for the renegotiation of the importance of health as a core component of security, not only in times of crises, but also in the ‘new normal’.