Take a bow, Victoria.
Once overrun with nearly 8,000 active cases, Australia’s hardest-hit state during the pandemic has officially eliminated Covid-19.
Friday marks four weeks without a new case of coronavirus as health officials celebrated the milestone that was almost unthinkable a couple months ago.
The state recorded another day of no new cases after some 9,828 Victorians were tested in the past 24 hours.
Health authorities say 28 days with no new cases means the virus has been eliminated from the community, given that period represents two 14-day incubation periods.
The last Covid-19 patient in a Victorian hospital was discharged on Monday, leaving the state without an active case.
It’s an incredible achievement – and unparalleled around the world – after Victoria reached 7,880 active cases on August 11.
Despite the good news, the Department of Health and Human Services has warned more virus fragments have been found as part of its wastewater surveillance testing program.
This time it was detected in a sample from a treatment plant in the Geelong suburb of Corio, with residents and visitors from Saturday to Tuesday urged to come forward for testing.
Hotel quarantine was the ignition point for the state's devastating second wave, which killed more than 750 people and infected more than 18,000 others.
An inquiry into the botched program will hold its final hearing on Friday, with new statements from Premier Daniel Andrews, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton and others expected to be released.
The premier is also set to face questions over the state's handling of the crisis as he appears before the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee.
But for now, many Melburnians were simply happy to celebrate the ostensible elimination of the virus.
“This is a truly astounding achievement. Just amazing,” remarked RMIT’s Emma Shortis on Twitter.
“This is so surreal. I can’t believe we did it,” said Change.org campaigner Sally Rugg.
“Thank you to the tireless, careful lab workers who processed all the tests. You are LEGENDS,” another resident posted.
Tasmania will become the latest state to reopen to Victoria on Friday after NSW removed its border checkpoints on Monday. Queensland will follow suit on December 1.
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