Humanitarian crises have significant implications for private business. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is causing a slowdown in world trade, disruption in global supply chains, changing tourism flows, and pressuring Chinese economic growth. The complexity of global supply chains means that businesses may be reliant on Chinese products without being aware of it. South African companies that have built markets on the back of an integrated global trade network need to be aware of, and ready to act on, the vulnerabilities that their trade dependence creates. Recommended actions include: create a view of critical products and suppliers; have contingency plans in place; consider the financial and legal implications; communicate; and conduct scenario analysis.