- July 2, 2020 8:42 AM
- October 19, 2021 5:05 PM
- February 9, 2023 12:10 PM
PARIS -- Cooperation rather than hasty denunciation is needed at the time of combating the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. technology magnate and philanthropist Bill Gates told French daily Le Figaro in an interview published Tuesday.
"The Chinese have made all the data accessible," Gates said, while praising the country for its contribution to the global research on the novel coronavirus as well as to avoiding a medical supplies market disruption.
China "is no longer a source of spread of the infection," and finger-pointing is not a constructive approach, he added.
"Our economy is at a standstill, the world is suffering -- the priority should be collaboration."
"We had no market disruption during this pandemic for medical ingredients! China is actually the most reliable supplier of these ingredients today compared to Western countries, which have not responded so quickly to the crisis," he said.
On April 14, U.S. President Donald Trump announced he would halt funding of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Gates said cutting contributions to the WHO at this time is hard to understand, highlighting the strong bond between the United States and the global health body.
"If you look at the current composition of WHO, you will see that the percentage of people working in WHO who are, or have been, employed by the (U.S.) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is very high. This is a good thing, because the CDC has historically been a very effective organization, which has played a major role in the eradication of smallpox, and in the effort against polio. I therefore do not understand why reducing the American contribution to WHO is relevant today, in the midst of a pandemic," he said.
"Time will come to assess all of our responses. I am sure that we will see that the WHO could have managed certain things differently. But the idea that it would have distorted reality for the benefit of a country is not correct," Gates said.
When asked about "the pitfalls of globalization and the risks of overdependence on China for certain strategic products such as medicines," Gates warned against "using the pandemic to promote xenophobic views."
"The idea that any small town is going to start making its cars! ... We need facts to have this discussion. Which products have disappeared globally because of the crisis? At the Gates Foundation, we are focused on the pandemic and collaboration, not on political rants," he added.