Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has praised Australia's response to the Covid pandemic - while warning the next major virus could be a serious threat if the Aussie approach isn't followed globally.
Gates revealed at the 2022 Munich Security Conference that he thought the fellas in the Great Southern Land stood out above the rest when it came to handling Covid-19.
Australia sealed its borders shut in March 2020 and kept the country sealed off to the rest of the world for two long years.
Despite intense national and state lockdowns, toilet paper hoarding and repeated 'Freedom' rallies, recent ABS data reveals only 2,556 Aussies died from Covid-19.
The number is significantly higher overseas. In the UK, the number of Covid deaths sits close to 183,000, whereas in the US, more than 935,000 Americans have died from the virus.
These figures could explain why the 'man behind Microsoft' has the hots for how they do it Down Under.
"[Australia] orchestrated diagnostics, they executed quarantine policies, and they have a death rate in a different league than other rich countries," Gates said at the annual conference, adding that 'everybody had the capability to do [the same]'.
The goal of no more pandemics ever is ambitious, but the progress we've made over the last two years has already set us on a path to success: https://t.co/mmeGMNrTZs pic.twitter.com/3KsRhEZhNh
- Bill Gates (@BillGates) February 10, 2022
The tech-billionaire turned philanthropist has donated more than one billion dollars to treatment and vaccine research, which flies in the face of the wild rumours and theories spread about his true motivations for Covid-19 research.
In an interview with Reuters, Gates said the 'crazy conspiracy theories' about him had likely spread further due to panic fuelled by the unknown virus and unprecedented increased access to social media.
"Nobody would have predicted that I... would be so prominent in these really evil theories," he said. "I'm very surprised by that. I hope it goes away."
Despite Gates' praise for the Aussie way of pandemic management, some restrictions are still in place across the country.
Some school students in Victoria and the ACT still have to wear masks in the classroom, and Queensland students will see mask rules eased this week.
In NSW, QR codes, most mask mandates have been ditched and pub patrons can dance again.
Just a quick reminder about today's eased COVID restrictions. pic.twitter.com/xS8ykJj7I8
- Dom Perrottet (@Dom_Perrottet) February 25, 2022
Some restrictions still remain in place in Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
Western Australia will introduce harsher restrictions from Thursday, with the previously closed-off state - to both the world and Aussies - now experiencing their own surge in infections.
WA currently has 5,540 active Covid cases, with that number expected to rise in the coming days as infections spread to remote communities.