The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has announced in a statement that they will be committing up to $100 million for coronavirus relief on Wednesday. This is a ten-fold increase from the foundation's initial $10 million pledge, which was publicised last month.
Per the statement, which was posted to the foundation's website, this funding will be used to "strengthen detection, isolation and treatment efforts; protect at-risk populations; and develop vaccines, treatments and diagnostics." It should be noted that the new funding is inclusive, not in addition to the original $10 million which was promised in late January.
This news comes after The Guardian reported today that the death toll for the outbreak has topped 560, with a third case of the virus being confirmed in the UK.Wuhan built a 1000 bed hospital in five days to treat the coronavirus outbreak:
Of the promised $100 million, the foundation will reportedly be donating up to $20 million to agencies that aid front-line detection, containment, and treatment, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US Center for Disease Control (CDC).
A further $20 million will be used to further protect civilians in Africa and South Asia - where such outbreaks can have "a disproportionate impact on populations living in extreme poverty," according to the statement. Funds will be used to help public health authorities strengthen emergency centers, implement productive disease surveillance efforts and improve capacity for treatment.
The remaining $60 million will purportedly go towards developing longer-term vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics for sustainable control and prevention to stop the virus from spreading further.
In the statement, the CEO of the Gates Foundation, Mark Suzman, elaborated: "Multilateral organizations, national governments, the private sector and philanthropies must work together to slow the pace of the outbreak, help countries protect their most vulnerable citizens and accelerate the development of the tools to bring this epidemic under control."
"Our hope is that these resources will help catalyze a rapid and effective international response. This response should be guided by science, not fear, and it should build on the steps that the World Health Organization has taken to date."
Bill Gates is one of several billionaires who have donated funds to the coronavirus outbreak. Amongst others, he joins Citadel's Ken Griffin, Alibaba co-founder, Jack Ma, and LVMH chairmain, Bernard Arnault.