Bill Gates has warned the world that he must face a global pandemic every 20 years unless more is done to help fight deadly diseases like coronavirus.
The 64-year-old billionaire philanthropist said that the growth of travel around the world means that the threat of viral pandemics is higher than at any time in history.
The Microsoft founder has long warned of treatment for highly infectious diseases and has spent millions of his personal fortune helping to prepare developing countries for such a scenario.
Speaking in a video interview with the Financial Times, he said: “This is the biggest event that people will have experienced for a lifetime.”
“There is a significant probability, that many global travels, that one of these things will arrive every 20 years or so and therefore citizens expect the government to make it a priority.”
He also said that rich countries should support the struggle of developing countries against the virus.
“The impact of those dollars on helping things not deteriorate completely, helping to keep things together, helping to speed up that vaccine maker – I think the case on this will be convincing.”
Gates, who established the Bill and Melinda Foundation to help tackle issues such as health and equality, said he believed the lessons would be drawn from the crisis.
“There is no doubt, having paid many trillion dollars more than we could have done if we had been properly prepared, people [prepare]. Because it has affected rich countries. . . we were hit in the head. “
“This time we’ve been hit in the head here at home folks, we know science is there … countries will move forward.”
More than 1.5 million people have been reported infected with the new coronavirus worldwide and 89,474 have died.
Infections have been reported in 212 countries and territories since the first cases were first identified in China in December 2019.
When the World Health Organization was warned of a mysterious new disease in China on New Year’s Eve, only a handful of people had fallen ill.