Bill Gates on Covid-19: Behaviour can change in a 'significant way' by late spring or summer

Global infections of the virus are now above 114 million

UNSPECIFIED - JUNE 24: In this screengrab, Bill Gates speaks during All In WA: A Concert For COVID-19 Relief on June 24, 2020 in Washington.   Getty Images/Getty Images for All In WA/AFP
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Behavioural changes in place to stave off the Covid-19 outbreak could change by "late spring or summer" following widespread vaccination efforts in the developed world, according to Bill Gates.

Countries around the world have imposed movement restrictions, placed a cap on large gatherings and made measures such as wearing face masks and sanitisation mandatory to stem the spread of the virus

The billionaire founder of Microsoft, who now focuses on healthcare through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, spoke about the impact of inoculation to contain Covid-19 in an interview on social media app Clubhouse.

“It’s only by late spring or summer that we’re going to get to numbers where you can look at changing your behaviour in a significant way,” Mr Gates said.

More than 231 million doses of Covid-19 have been delivered worldwide, with more than 70 million jabs distributed in the US, the country with the highest number of Covid-19 infections.

Mr Gates, who has been a vocal proponent for adopting preventive measures such as face masks, has received a two doses of the jab but said the vaccination does not stop transmission of the virus.

He urged those who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus to continue wearing personal protective equipment and adhere to social distancing rules to stop the spread.

Globally, the number of infections rose above 114 million as of Saturday, according to Worldometer, which tracks the pandemic. The US accounts for more than a quarter of all infections.

Regulators have so far approved vaccines developed by the Pfizer/BioNTech collaboration, Moderna, AstraZeneca/Oxford, Novavax, Sinovac Biotech, Gamaleya, CanSino Biologics, Sinopharm and more recently, Johnson & Johnson.

However, new and more virulent strains of the pathogen that mutated in the UK, South Africa and Brazil are now adding to the concerns of vaccine makers.

Israel has had the most success in the vaccination programme, with 36.4 per cent of the population vaccinated so far, according to a Bloomberg tracker.

The new administration of Joe Biden has promised to deliver vaccines to 100 million people within the first 100 days of his office.