Coronavirus: Bill Gates pledges US$100 million to combat outbreak

In a photo taken on Oct 10, 2019, Microsoft founder Bill Gates delivers a speech during the conference of Global Fund to Fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Lyon, France.
In a photo taken on Oct 10, 2019, Microsoft founder Bill Gates delivers a speech during the conference of Global Fund to Fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Lyon, France.PHOTO: AFP

MELBOURNE (BLOOMBERG) -The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation increased its pledge to as much as US$100 million (S$138 million) to combat the coronavirus outbreak as the number of cases worldwide climbed to almost 25,000 and the death toll neared 500.

The funding will help strengthen detection, isolation and treatment efforts; protect at-risk populations; and develop vaccines, therapies and diagnostics. The new funding includes the US$10 million the foundation committed to the outbreak in late January.

"Multilateral organisations, 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," Gates Foundation chief executive officer Mark Suzman said in a statement.

The funds will assist the World Health Organisation, Chinese front-line responders and others at the global and national levels, the foundation said.