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Yet again, the virus has us all holding our breath

Here we go again. Victoria had just reached 28 days without community coronavirus transmission, but on the back of one positive case finds itself desperately trying to limit another outbreak. With the possibility that a tennis hotel quarantine worker is infected with the highly infectious UK super-strain, there is little room for mistakes or lack of urgency.

Premier Daniel Andrews is right to concede that, particularly with the new mutation reaching our shores, the likelihood of it breaching the revamped hotel quarantine program is heightened. And while the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination appears on track for later this month, herd immunity is not expected to be reached for many months, leaving no room for dropping the ball.

Melburnians came out in large numbers on Thursday to get tested.

Melburnians came out in large numbers on Thursday to get tested. Credit:Paul Jeffers

But the latest positive case of local transmission does make clear the challenge. The 26-year-old Noble Park man tested negative on his last day of work, so it was only his own initiative that led to him getting tested again. The government has moved to extend testing to catch such a case in future, but fixing every possible crack in the system is an ambitious ask.

Now we all need to hold our breath, as the extent of the outbreak comes to light. Victorians do not need to be reminded of the worst-case scenario. The best outcome would follow the recent outbreak in Western Australia, where a security guard who worked at one of Perth’s quarantine hotels tested positive to the new UK strain of COVID-19 on Saturday. Three days into a five-day lockdown, there have been no further detected cases of community transmission.

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