The COVID-19 global emergency has brought about unexpected changes in the format and quality of undergraduate medical education in a short period of time. The impact of remote delivery on medical students learning, satisfaction, confidence, social relationships, communications and emotional wellbeing has been significant. The lack of direct patient and teacher contact is generating anxiety about their future competence. The ambivalence about urge to help without sufficient clinical skills and the fear of being either infected or becoming an asymptomatic carrier that puts patient safety at risk is of concern to them. Suggestions for enhancing pandemic or global emergency preparedness for the future are made. Strategies to manage the way in which remote learning is delivered need to be implemented as a matter of urgency should social distancing and quarantine regulations keep medical students away from hands-on clinical practice for long periods. Actions to maintain motivation and trust in the medical schools to meet their learning needs now and in the future are warranted.