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Bill Gates commits US$5m to Africa to fight coronavirus

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As a coronavirus continues to spread around the world, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have announced that it is contributing US$10 million toward the fight to contain the outbreak.

Of that total, the foundation is giving $5 million to support the response in China, while the other $5 million is going to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention for screening and crisis preparedness there.

The money will be spent on “emergency funds and corresponding technical support to help frontline responders in China and Africa accelerate their efforts to contain the global spread of 2019-nCoV,” the foundation said in a press release.

The new coronavirus was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of December.

Since then, it has claimed at least 81 lives and reached 14 other countries. At least 2,800 people have gotten sick.

China has halted transportation in Wuhan and many other cities, effectively putting more than 50 million people on lockdown.

The Gates Foundation focuses mostly on improving global health and fighting poverty. It’s one of the largest private philanthropic foundations in the world, with a $46.8 billion endowment.

In China, the $5 million in funding will be distributed among public and private partners that the organization already works with, including China’s National Health Commission, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

The money going to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention is for “technical support to implement the screening and treatment of suspected cases, laboratory confirmation of 2019-nCoV diagnoses, and the safe isolation and care of identified cases,” the organization said in its press release.

No African countries have reported any confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, but a woman in the Ivory Coast with flu-like symptoms is under observation and being kept in isolation after arriving from Beijing over the weekend, according to the South China Morning Post. She is a student who has lived in Beijing for five years and was returning to her West African home during the Lunar New Year holiday.

Bill Gates has been warning about a pandemic for years now.

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