Chinese President Xi Jinping has written a letter expressing thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the organisation’s “generosity” and support tackling a deadly virus epidemic, according to the media on Saturday.
The outbreak of the new COVID-19 strain has claimed 2,345 lives in mainland China and infected more than 76,000 people, with cases in more than 25 countries.
Earlier this month the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation committed up to USD 100 million for the global response to the outbreak.
Xi wrote in the letter, “I deeply appreciate the act of generosity of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and your letter of solidarity to the Chinese people at such an important moment”.
China is at a “critical moment” in the fight against the outbreak, Xi Jinping further added.
Gates said in his letter on February 6 that his foundation has committed up to 100 million US dollars in emergency funding, much of which will help China bolster epidemiological research, emergency intervention, and the research and development of drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics.
The foundation said it would direct $20 million to organizations like the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Protection, the National Health Commission of China and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The overall death toll in mainland China due to the deadly coronavirus has increased to 2,345, while the number of confirmed cases reached 76,288, according to the health authorities on Saturday.
The number of deaths is higher than the previous day when 114 people died of the disease, but the country reported the lowest number of new infection cases in nearly a month, fuelling hopes that Beijing’s epidemic control efforts were working.
Hong Kong has confirmed the virus in 62 patients, two of whom have died. The first infections were largely found within people who had travelled to the epicentre in China’s central Hubei province.
Hubei Province, a centre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, reported 411 new confirmed cases and 115 new deaths on Thursday, according to the provincial health commission on Friday.
The novel Coronavirus outbreak has caused alarm as it has crossed global fatalities in the 2002-03 SARS epidemic.