Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi praising his leadership in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, government sources said on Wednesday.
“We commend your leadership and the proactive measures you and your government have taken to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 infection rate in India, such as adopting a national lockdown, expanding focused testing to identify hot spots for isolation, quarantining, and care, and significantly increasing health expenditures to strengthen the health system response and promote R&D and digital innovation,” the Microsoft co-founder said in a letter, according to government sources.
“I’m glad your government is fully utilising its exceptional digital capabilities in its COVID-19 response and has launched the Aarogya Setu digital app for coronavirus tracking, contact tracing, and to connect people to health services,” it added.
“Grateful to see that you’re seeking to balance public health imperatives with the need to ensure adequate social protection for all Indians,” the letter said.
Bill Gates and wife Melinda Gates, who heads one of the world’s largest philanthropic foundations in their name that has made healthcare a key focus of its work over the years, has been one of the most active participants in the global response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Last week, Melinda Gates announced an extra $150 million of funding from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help speed the development of treatments, vaccines and public health measures to tackle the outbreak.
The move came after US President Donald Trump announced he was blocking funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO) as he scrambled to pin the blame for a botched-up American response to the coronavirus pandemic.