Tech billionaire Bill Gates has warned Australia to be ready for the next pandemic, which could be man-made and far more brutal.
Mr Gates told the Lowy Institute think tank in Sydney on Monday that political leaders needed to set aside their differences and work together to prepare for the next virus.
He called for greater global cooperation using the Covid-19 pandemic as an example of how countries could improve on their response if they worked together.
‘Compare the economic cost of being prepared for the next one to the cost of this one, over $US10trillion economic loss,’ he said.
‘With the pandemic we were foolish not to have the tools, the practice and global capacity to be on standby like we do with fire or earthquakes.’
Mr Gates praised Australia’s policies in helping to keep infection rates low before vaccines were rolled out.
‘Some of the things that stand out are that Australia and about seven other countries did population scale diagnostics early on and had quarantine policies,’ he said.
‘That meant you kept the level of infection low in that first year when there were no vaccines.’