Yuri Milner, one of the world's best-known tech investors, whose personal wealth is estimated at $3.8 billion, has announced, together with Julia, his wife, a donation of three million masks to Israel's emergency services. Working closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Magen David Adom, which will receive and distribute the masks, some of the masks will go to medical workers, and a significant part will go to organizations providing essential services, whose frontline workers are still required to do their jobs during the lockdown.
Milner, an Israeli living in Silicon Valley, was an early investor in a range of tech giants that shaped the Internet, including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Airbnb and Spotify.
He said, "If we want to preserve our way of life, out of a duty to be careful, I would urge business leaders to consider adopting this practice even after the current acute phase of the crisis, and to provide their employees with masks for daily use in the office, as many Chinese companies already do."
He added, "This should become the new norm for all of us to wear a mask when outside our homes: the basic concept of getting dressed to go out should include covering our mouths and noses. In conjunction with hand-washing, social distancing and other measures, this should be our strategy to get through the current crisis until the scientists come to the rescue, and develop a reliable vaccine or treatment."
Only last week, the Milners announced a $3 million donation to efforts to combat the coronavirus in Israel. The donation will be split between Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency medical response organization, which is launching an innovative project to reduce the number of people coming to clinics; Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and George S. Wise Life Sciences, which will support research efforts aimed at developing treatments for the virus; and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Ichilov Hospital, which will directly fund the intensive care unit that is caring for COVID-19 sufferers.
"This is an investment in the present and the future," Milner said, "In the short term, it’s a way to increase the intensive care unit capacity in Israel and relieve pressure on doctors and, in the longer term, it will support the search for a cure and help develop a new system of virtual medical treatment. In the face of global threats like this, science, technology and innovation are our best hopes. Israel is a leader in those fields, and I hope this initiative can both make an impact on Covid-19, and also become a model that can be replicated by other countries."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on April 2, 2020
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