There is a significant risk of pandemic terrorism.
There is nothing to stop extremists from deliberately infecting themselves with COVID-19 and spreading it through the community. This would have the potential for causing far more damage than a suicide bomber could achieve. Local extremists have this capability by self infecting and attending all public gatherings that are still available (e.g. shopping centers, Centerlink Offices, supermarkets (product and produce tampering etc.).
The Coronavirus outbreak has quickly swept throughout the globe killing and infecting tens of thousands of people and causing mass disruptions to the western global economy. From stock market downfalls to major countries closing their borders, COVID-19 is currently the only thing that everyone is talking about right now.
If COVID-19 was an intentionally dispersed disease with the aim to cause harm to western society in the pursuit of political aims, it would be the largest modern terrorist attack recorded.
The global reaction to COVID-19 has all the ingredients that appeal to extremists wishing to cause harm to the innocent. We’ve seen cases in Australia where individuals and groups have carefully planned and carried out attacks against the public with the purpose of seeking media attention.
Many extremists and terrorists seek media attention from their attacks because news coverage gives exposure by striking fear into the masses.
If we take a look at the situation with COVID-19 in regards to the global impact and news coverage it has demanded, we could see the potential for future players wanting to utilise viruses to cause mass harm.
What would the implications be if an extremist who knew they carried the virus, intentionally spread the disease as much as possible?
Viruses such as COVID-19 have the ability to cause global panic, economic stress, increased crime rates, closures, emotional pain, deaths and much more.
Could viruses be the future of terrorism? If so, developing strategies to prevent and manage an outbreak could be critical for governments, businesses and entities.
Today we are in uncharted waters. We need to put in place Business Continuity Plans that take into account previously inconceivable events and plan for drastic countermeasures that are harsh but enable survival.