Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide $100M to fight coronavirus outbreak

A patient is transferred by an ambulance to the Infectious Disease Centre of Princess Margaret Hospital on January 22, 2020 in Hong Kong, China. (Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

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A patient is transferred by an ambulance to the Infectious Disease Centre of Princess Margaret Hospital on January 22, 2020 in Hong Kong, China. (Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced Wednesday that it will donate up to $100 million toward the effort to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

In a news release, the foundation said that the funding will help strengthen detection, isolation and treatment efforts; protect at-risk populations; and develop vaccines, treatments and diagnostics.

“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,” said Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman. “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.”

The foundation is providing more resources to help the World Health Organization, Chinese front-line responders, and others at the global and national levels.

On Wednesday, WHO announced that $675 million is needed for the preparedness and response plan covering the months of February through April to fight the further spread of the outbreak.

“My biggest worry is that there are countries today who do not have the systems in place to detect people who have contracted with the virus, even if it were to emerge,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general. “Urgent support is needed to bolster weak health systems to detect, diagnose and care for people with the virus, to prevent further human to human transmission and protect health workers.”

Late last month, WHO declared "a public health emergency of international concern over the global outbreak." A Snohomish County man was the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the U.S.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is one of 20 in the U.S. that has health screenings for coronavirus.

Explore>> See a map of U.S. quarantine stations

All passengers arriving from China will be asked an additional set of screening questions as they get off the plane, and could be pulled aside for additional screening.

According to WHO, more than two dozen countries have reported confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 24,000 people have contracted the virus. The death toll has reached nearly 500 people.

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