Life imitating art? I just watched “Flu” – a scary but watchable 2013 South Korean film on Netflix about a deadly human-to-human pandemic coming out of China via illegal human smuggling into the Republic of Korea (ROK), and the ensuing emergency lockdown of a city and drastic containment measures taken to stop it.
Chaos ensues after a rapidly spreading, hyper-lethal, airborne respiratory virus infects the population of a ROK city 20 kilometers from Seoul.
Clear echoes of today.
The virus is described as an outbreak of a deadly strain of H5N1 Avian (bird) flu that kills its victims within 36 hours, throwing the district of Bundang, which has a population of nearly half a million people, into a panic.
The movie delves into the difficult decisions needed to protect the country, and the world, from a deadly, rapidly spreading pandemic while forcibly quarantining tens of thousands who will likely die.
These are the same critical issues that all our political leaders are facing today. The movie also more implausibly presents how the crisis creates a severe test for the US-ROK alliance. This is still fiction, of course.
Need to turn on English subtitles – but worth watching.
Paul Crespo is a defense and national security expert. He served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. He holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. Paul is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and a Contributor to American Defense News.