New Delhi: Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates on Wednesday poured out praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking bold steps in the fight against coronavirus which has claimed more than 600 lives in India. Also Read - COVID-19: PM Modi to Interact With Chief Ministers of All States Through Video Conferencing on April 27 

Writing a letter of appreciation, Bill Gates said that he is grateful to see that PM Modi is seeking to balance public health imperatives with the need to ensure adequate social protection for all Indians. Also Read - It Will Ensure Safety: PM Modi on Ordinance to Protect Healthcare Professionals From Attacks

“We commend your leadership and the proactive measures you and your government have taken to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 infection rate in India, such as adopting a national lockdown,” he wrote in the letter. Also Read - Contributed Significantly in Maintaining Social System: PM Modi Thanks Traders, Shopkeepers in This Hour of Crisis

He also expressed happiness that the Central government is fully utilizing digital capabilities in its COVID-19 response and has launched the Aarogya Setu digital app for coronavirus tracking.

“I’m glad your government is fully utilizing its exceptional digital capabilities in its COVID-19 response and has launched the Aarogya Setu digital app for coronavirus tracking, contact tracing, and to connect people to health services,” he wrote.

He said in the letter that India is expanding focused testing to identify hot spots for isolation, quarantining, and care, and significantly increasing health expenditures to strengthen the health system response and promote R&D and digital innovation.

The statement from the philanthropist billionaire comes at a time when the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 652 and the number of cases climbed to 20,471 in the country on Wednesday.

In another development, Bill Gates had announced that his foundation is paying for the construction of facilities that will manufacture seven promising coronavirus vaccines and the best two vaccines would be picked up for final trials.

Bill Gates had last month stepped down from Microsoft’s board of directors to dedicate more time to his philanthropic priorities.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had in February announced that it would commit up to $100 million for the global response to the novel coronavirus.