MELBOURNE, Australia — From nearly 8,000 active cases in August and more than 800 deaths in the Australian state of Victoria to the elimination of the coronavirus: It’s an achievement that one Melbourne doctor says he thought was unthinkable only three months ago.
Friday marked four weeks without a new case of COVID-19 and 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 the time represents two 14-day incubation periods.
Victoria reached 7,880 active cases on Aug. 11. The last COVID-19 patient in a Victorian hospital was discharged on Monday, leaving the state without an active case.
The resurgence had forced a lockdown in Melbourne, an overnight curfew and travel and family gathering restrictions. Premier Daniel Andrews was criticized repeatedly over several months for his strict guidelines.
“It is an emotional thing. My training makes me wary about ever saying we’ve reached the finish line here,” Melbourne doctor Stephen Parnis told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. “But the fact that in about three months we’ve gotten to this point, no one would have been able to suggest that would even come close to this.”
Australia’s death toll from the virus is 907 and 819 of them are from Victoria.