Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 25 November 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus: Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and Bill Gates discuss Covid-19 spread

The two frequently work together to try to eliminate some of the world's most dangerous diseases

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, receives Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in Abu Dhabi in 2015. Ryan Carter / Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi 
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, receives Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in Abu Dhabi in 2015. Ryan Carter / Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi 

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, spoke with Bill Gates on Wednesday about the global spread of Covid-19.

In a tweet, Sheikh Mohamed said the billionaire philanthropist was a friend who “devoted his life to improving public health”.

"The world faces a great challenge and governments and private institutions need to co-ordinate to mobilise resources and launch global initiatives," he said.

The two have worked together since 2011 to try eradicate some of the world's most dangerous diseases, including polio, malaria, river blindness and other neglected tropical diseases.

The UAE hosted the "Reaching the Last Mile" forum in 2019 and 2017, when Sheikh Mohamed, the British government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation established a $100 million (Dh367.3m) fund to fight diseases that afflict millions worldwide.

“The fund reflects our long-term vision to save lives and put an end to neglected tropical diseases," Sheikh Mohamed said at the time.

The Gates foundation has donated billions of dollars towards such programmes.

In March 2015, Mr Gates gave a TEDTalk titled: "The next outbreak? We've not ready."

In it, he said that if anything were likely to kill millions of people in the next few decades, it would be a highly infectious virus, rather than a war.

“We have invested a huge amount in nuclear deterrents, but we’ve actually invested very little in a system to stop an epidemic," Mr Gates said at the time.

"We’re not ready for the next epidemic."

Covid-19 has infected more than two million people in a little more than 100 days.

The foundation recently donated $100m to fight the spread of the virus.

During his call with Sheikh Mohamed on Wednesday, Mr Gates discussed ways of co-ordinating humanitarian work between the UAE and the foundation to help the international community fight the pandemic, and ways to support health workers worldwide.

Sheikh Mohamed said the UAE was prepared to help in whatever way possible.

Mr Gates praised the Emirates for its work in repatriating citizens, flying in people from other countries for treatment and sending aid to badly affected countries, the state news agency Wam reported.

Updated: April 16, 2020 12:47 PM

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