The coronavirus pandemic has reached almost every corner of the planet claiming more than 13,000 lives and affecting more than 3 lakh individuals across the world. At the moment, there is no cure for the disease and the only way to contain its spread is by maintaining social distancing. In these tough times, while most of the billionaires don’t seem considerate, some of the world’s wealthiest are coming forward to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
Bill Gates commits $100 million
The Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announced $100 million aid from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to combat COVID-19— half of which will go towards developing vaccines, treatment, and diagnostics.
Chinese billionaire Jack Ma commits $14 million
The Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma has promised $14 million to help develop COVID-19 vaccine. The Chinese billionaire also announced an additional $2.15 million to the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Australia to help develop a vaccine. He also announced to donate 5 lakh testing kits and 10 lakh face masks to the US.
The first shipment of masks and coronavirus test kits to the US is taking off from Shanghai. All the best to our friends in America. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/LTn26gvlOl
— Jack Ma (@JackMa) March 16, 2020
Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing commits $13 million
In February, Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka-Shing promised to donate $13 million to help medical workers in Wuhan. Li’s foundation is also working to source medical supplies for health care workers in Wuhan and Hong Kong.
Apple donating masks
The Cupertino-based tech company Apple is donating millions of industrial-grade respirator masks to health care providers fighting coronavirus on the front lines. “Our teams at Apple have been working to help source supplies for healthcare providers fighting COVID-19. We’re donating millions of masks for health professionals in the US and Europe.” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a post on Twitter. “To every one of the heroes on the front lines, we thank you.”
Giorgio Armani donates $1.43 million
Michael Bloomberg partners with WHO
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has launched a $40 million initiative to prevent or slow the spread of coronavirus in low and middle-income countries. Bloomberg is partnering with the World Health Organization (WHO) and global health organization Vital Strategies.
Steve Ballmer to donate $1 million
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie committed to donating a total of $1 million to community groups in Los Angeles (LA) to combat the triple effect left the coronavirus. As per a report by LA Times, the Ballmer Group is also donating $100,000 to Brilliant Corners to help the immediate needs of the homeless in LA and $150,000 to the California Community Foundation to support low-income and low-wage workers in the wake of coronavirus.
Silvio Berlusconi donates $10.9 million
Italy’s three-time prime minister and current member of the European Parliament gave $10.9 million to the region of Lombardy where a hospital will be built.
Anand Mahindra to sets up fund and donate salary
Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra took to Twitter to announce that the resorts owned by his company be utilised as temporary care facilities. He also said that he will create a fund to assist the hardest-hit sections, like small businesses and self-employed people. The Indian billionaires committed 100 per cent of his salary to the fund, with the promise of further additions over the next few months. COVID-19 has claimed seven lives in the country so far with a total number of cases standing at 341.
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Apart from committing millions of dollars to combat the coronavirus, other billionaires around the world have been producing or contributing essential supplies needed to control the pandemic. Some announced to pay their employees despite closing all offices.
However, there are some who are playing it down and that includes the Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. As per reports, he emailed SpaceX employees that they are more likely to die in a car accident than from coronavirus. He also tweeted that “coronavirus panic is dumb”.
British billionaire Richard Branson asked the staff of his Virgin Atlantic airline to take eight weeks of “unpaid leave” due to an 80 per cent reduction in flights.
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