Bill Gates, Jack Ma pledge millions amid coronavirus spread; other billionaires also chip in

FE Online

Billionaires Bill Gates and Jack Ma have pledged millions as China's coronavirus becomes a pandemic. The foundation run by Microsoft founder and his wife has committed to give $100 million of financial aid to provide support. Other than Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation, Alibaba-fame Jack Ma has also extended support of $14.5 million to help fight the coronavirus spread. "The funding will help strengthen detection, isolation and treatment efforts; protect at-risk populations; and develop vaccines, treatments and diagnostics. The new funding is inclusive of $10 million the foundation committed to the outbreak in late January," the foundation said. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has also offered to establish a $145 million fund and has also extended support of its artificial intelligence expertise with researchers. Other than Bill Gates and Jack Ma, at least two other billionaires have also chipped in. 

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Coronavirus, which originated in the Hubei province of China, has claimed over 2,100 lives so far and is also a looming danger on the global economic growth. Along with philanthropists, several nations have also pledged support for China and India is one such nation. Meanwhile, Ma Huateng, who is the founder of Chinese tech giant Tencent, has donated about $42 million so far to help ease the coronavirus situation in the worst-hit areas. Tencent's WeChat is also extending technical support by working on maps to show locations of hospitals that are receiving patients in over 300 Chinese cities. Kering Group's Francois-Henri Pinault has also chipped in with $1.08 million. His company is the parent organisation of brands like Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Ulysse Nardin among others. The funds will be released to the Red Cross Foundation in Hubei, and will be used towards caring for medical staff and patients at hospitals.