The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation increased its pledge to as much as $100 million to combat the outbreak as the number of cases worldwide climbed to almost 25,000 and the death toll neared 500.

The funding will help strengthen detection, isolation and treatment efforts; protect at-risk populations; and develop vaccines, therapies and diagnostics. The new funding includes the $10 million the Seattle-based foundation committed to the outbreak in late January.

“Multilateral organizations, national governments, the private sector and philanthropies must work together to slow the pace of the outbreak, help countries protect their most vulnerable citizens and accelerate the development of the tools to bring this epidemic under control,” Gates Foundation Chief Executive Officer Mark Suzman said in a statement.

The funds will assist the World Health Organization, Chinese frontline responders and others at the global and national levels, the foundation said.

China said it would cut some fees and taxes to companies contending with the coronavirus outbreak, while Hong Kong announced plans to quarantine travelers coming from the mainland. Thousands remained stuck on cruise ships.

Key developments:

  • China death toll at 490; 24,324 confirmed cases, 3,219 severe
  • Despite global fears, the virus is still concentrated mostly in Hubei
  • Foxconn cuts outlook, will quarantine workers; may hit Apple output
  • More than 7,000 held on two luxury cruise ships as virus spreads
  • Cathay Pacific asks staff to take unpaid leave, Airbus shuts plant