The effects of the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) on the Singapore General Hospital's Department of Anaesthesia are described. Urgent measures to protect staff and patients were implemented. Clear direction in administration issues and clinical pathways with good logistic support were essential. Anaesthetists were at risk and anaesthetic practice had to change in view of strict infection control provisions. Contingency planning for future infectious diseases outbreaks is required. Lessons can be learnt by hospitals yet to be visited by this virulent infection.