One Australian state has been so successful in battling the coronavirus that a top health official says it has been ‘virtually eliminated’.
NSW’s top health official says the state has “virtually eliminated” COVID-19.
Chief health officer Kerry Chant’s comments came as the state’s top political leaders took a victory lap and announced major rule relaxations ahead of summer.
“I think that on the balance of probability, we probably have virtually eliminated community transmission,” Dr Chant said.
“There’s always room for doubt there because the virus can be so stealthy … There are no absolutes with COVID.
“But all our intelligence would suggest it’s been long enough (since) having a locally acquired case where we don’t know the source.”
She still cautioned new cases were likely to pop up and pointed to a previous virus-free streak of almost two weeks that ended in disappointment when COVID-19 started spreading in the state again.
NSW officials continue to urge residents to be cautious, follow health orders and get tested if any coronavirus symptoms appear.
Wednesday marked NSW’s 25th day in a row without any locally acquired coronavirus cases. If the streak continues, the state could celebrate the significant 28-day mark by the end of the week.
That number is important because it is twice the virus’s maximum incubation period.
Still, if NSW reaches that milestone by the weekend, the state would only be sixth best in the country in terms of local transmission.
The ACT, Western Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania have all gone several months without a local case.
And Victoria, which has had the most cases and deaths overall, have gone 33 days without local transmission.