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WHO warns there might never be a 'silver bullet' for coronavirus

This article is more than 12 months old

It urges governments and citizens to keep at doing the basics

GENEVA : The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned yesterday that there might never be a "silver bullet" for the coronavirus, despite the rush to discover effective vaccines.

The WHO urged governments and citizens to focus on doing the basics, such as testing, contact tracing, maintaining physical distance and wearing a mask to suppress the pandemic, which has upended normal life around the globe and triggered a devastating economic crisis.

"We all hope to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual press conference.

"However, there is no silver bullet at the moment - and there might never be. For now, stopping outbreaks comes down to the basics of public health and disease control.

"Do it all," he urged.

The coronavirus has killed nearly 690,000 people and infected at least 18.1 million, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

Meanwhile Australia's second biggest city, Melbourne, already under night curfew, announced fresh restrictions on industries including retail and construction yesterday in a bid to contain a resurgence of the coronavirus.

From tomorrow night, Melbourne, the capital of Victoria state, will close retail, some manufacturing and administrative businesses as part of a six-week lockdown.

The new measures are expected to double the number of jobs affected by virus restrictions to around 500,000 and along with those working from home, will keep a million people from moving around for work, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Having already imposed the strictest restrictions on movement, Victoria declared a "state of disaster" on Sunday.

"As heartbreaking as it is to close down places of employment... that is what we have to do in order to stop the spread of this wildly infectious virus," Mr Andrews told a news conference.

"Otherwise, we are not in for six weeks of restrictions - we'll be in for a six-month stint."

SCALED BACK

The latest moves in Victoria meant production at meatworks would be cut by one-third, construction activities and staffing at distribution centres would also be scaled back and all schools would return to remote learning.

Supermarkets will remain open along with restaurant takeaway and delivery, but many other retail outlets will shut.

Restrictions announced on Sunday included a curfew from 8pm to 5am for six weeks, barring the city's nearly five million people from leaving their homes except for work or to receive or give care.

Victoria reported 429 new cases yesterday, down from 671 new infections on Sunday, but 13 more deaths was the second highest daily death toll.

New South Wales, which had 13 new infections, strongly recommended the use of masks in all indoor venues, while South Australia, with two fresh cases, cut home gatherings to 10 from 50 previously, and said only those seated at venues can be served alcohol. - AFP, REUTERS

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