- The Gates Foundation announced Wednesday that it will spend an additional $150 million on coronavirus relief efforts, bringing its total commitment to $250 million.
- The new funds will go toward developing testing, treatment, and vaccines for COVID-19 as well as strengthening healthcare systems in African and South Asian countries, the foundation said.
- The announcement comes just a day after Bill Gates slammed Trump’s decision to cut US funding for the World Health Organization.
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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced in a press release Wednesday that it will pitch in an additional $150 million to the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, bringing its total commitment to $250 million.
The new funds will be put toward developing testing, treatments, and vaccines for COVID-19, as well as helping its partners in Africa and South Asia expand their “detection, treatment, and isolation efforts,” the foundation said.
“It is increasingly clear that the world’s response to this pandemic will not be effective unless it is also equitable,” said Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates, adding that the funds “will support efforts against COVID-19 in low-and-middle-income countries, where local leaders and healthcare workers are doing heroic work to protect vulnerable communities.”
The announcement comes after foundation co-chair Bill Gates criticized President Donald Trump’s decision evening to withdraw US financial support for the World Health Organization. On Tuesday evening, Trump said he would stop the $400 million to $500 million of US funding for the body, pending an investigation into what he saw as its aiding China in “covering up” the novel coronavirus.
Following Trump’s announcement, Gates tweeted: “Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds.”
—Bill Gates (@BillGates) April 15, 2020
“COVID-19 doesn’t obey border laws,” Gates said in Wednesday’s press release. “The world community must understand that so long as COVID-19 is somewhere, we need to act as if it were everywhere. Beating this pandemic will require an unprecedented level of international funding and cooperation.”
The Gateses aren’t the only tech billionaires who have pledged significant amounts of money to help fight the coronavirus. This week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced he was donating $1 billion towards a relief fund, which he said is roughly 28% of his net worth. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have committed $100 million and $25 million, respectively, though the amounts are much smaller compared to their net worth.