Coronavirus: Bill Gates warns that the world is going to 'uncharted territory'

Coronavirus: Bill Gates warns that the world is going to 'uncharted territory'

Co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates says the world is entering "uncharted territory" because it was not prepared for a pandemic like COVID-19.

The tech billionaire and philanthropist told the BBC that more would have been spent by governments across the globe in preparing for the international health crisis.

"There is the period where the virus shows up in those first few months," he said.
"Were the tests prepared?

"Did countries think through getting their ICU and ventilator capacity up?"

For years, Mr Gates has warned of the possibility of a pandemic epidemic and spent millions in possible coronavirus vaccines funding.

He told BBC Breakfast on Sunday countries had not invested enough in essential medical equipment and research.

"Well, there was a period when I and other health experts were saying that this was the greatest potential downfall the world faced," Mr Gates said.

"So we definitely will look back and wish we had invested more, so that we could quickly have all the diagnostics, drugs, and vaccines.

"We underinvested."

Mr Gates, 67, has dedicated much of his time to researching and funding global health campaigns to address inequality through the charity he runs with his wife in recent years.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed up to $100 million to assist the global response to the pandemic, along with an additional $5 million for his Washington home state.

Mr Gates has been an outspoken supporter of preparing a pandemic for the world before it happens.

He urged the world to prepare for another disease outbreak in 2015, while addressing the Ebola epidemic in Africa at a Ted Talk.

Earlier this month, in an interview with the Financial Times, he said that COVID-19 was the "biggest event that people will experience in their entire lives" and governments and policymakers have "paid many trillions of dollars more than we might have had to if we'd been properly ready".

Yet he also acknowledged that lessons learned from this pandemic would inspire world leaders to plan better for next time.

And in a Q&A on Reddit earlier this year in an Ask-Me-Anything he pointed to some nations' progress in containing the virus but lamented the US response.

For examples of countries that had effectively controlled the virus, Mr Gates pointed to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

He has defined focused, fast testing and effective social distancing measures as the two main factors that will decide the severity of the outcome of each country.

Mr Gates also criticized the U.S. approach to testing, saying that the most vulnerable were disproportionately disadvantaged.

He suggested the development of a national database that would monitor confirmed cases and forecast possible outbreaks-an approach taken up by South Korea.

Image: Bill Gates working from home during the coronavirus crisis. The tech billionaire a (Twitter)