Experts knew the world was due for its next global pandemic.
Those experts included ACT's chief health officer Kerryn Coleman - a long time public health physician. It's exactly what she and her colleagues have trained for and it's what they are good at.
She just never expected such a global crisis to hit just a few months into her tenure in one of the ACT's top health jobs.
"We all knew it was coming, we had all planned and prepared for it," Dr Coleman said. "You just hope that it's never going to be you."
The chief health officer's role has never been more important. Dr Coleman is in charge of implementing the ACT's response to the coronavirus pandemic and has special powers to enforce directions.
She works with the whole health sector looking at how it could scale up in line with different levels of hospital demand.
The most developed plans are around the ways to increase capacity at Canberra's public hospitals as well as using private hospital beds - this could be done almost immediately if the need arose.
But Dr Coleman is also looking at worst-case scenarios, where the health system could not sustain the level of demand required.
These scenarios could involve makeshift hospitals at community halls, schools or clinics set up by the defence force.
ACT authorities are also thinking about what cold rooms could become make-shift morgues, and what role funeral directors could play.
One of the most important jobs she and her team complete is the detailed contact tracing on all confirmed cases in the ACT - which as of Friday sat at 62. It is key to suppressing the number of virus cases.
They ask for a detailed list of all the places cases have visited and anyone that may have come in contact with them.
They will then determine who are, or could be, close contacts and track those people down and work with them to self-isolate.
Dr Coleman said it was usually easy for cases who had returned home from overseas and went straight into quarantine to provide authorities with that information. But ACT's first few cases were people who likely acquired the virus interstate where they did not know there was a risk of transmission.
"If you think about what you did on a Saturday and we're asking you on a Thursday," she said.
"We ask them to write it down, and we collect and get started on that and they might give us a ring the next day or in two hours time and say 'oh I thought of an additional person or an extra place'.
"It's sometimes one of the reasons why we can't give that degree of information, it's always a moving feast."
Dr Coleman said one of the biggest misconceptions some people had about the virus is that it could be solved by a short and intense complete lock down.
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She is a member of the Australian Health Protection Principals Committee committee which advises the federal government on what measures should be taken.
They must balance not going too hard too early on social isolation policies, with being able to suppress the virus at a rate the health system may be able to handle.
In the absence of a vaccine, which is not expected to be available for at least 18 months, the only way to create some sort of immunity in the community is through a level of infection and recovery.
Dr Coleman said if there was a full lockdown that completely stopped transmissions, cases would simply spike once restrictions were eased.
The only way such a measure would work, was if a vaccine could be available within about three months, she said.
"This isn't an exact science," Dr Coleman.
"When you get a new infectious disease passing though a community we look for developing immunity to the level that we get a level of herd immunity and then transmission will start to decrease.
"The aim is to keep the social distancing measures in place for long enough, but to keep the curve flat enough, but for enough people to also be impacted, so once we start removing them, the spread is not going to take off.
"So I think at the moment, we think that is going to take six to nine months to get to that level and then we can start slowly lifting back the social distancing measures.
"If we remove them in four weeks, we will see an upswing, because there's no way we'll have enough people with immunity to stop that from happening."
The ACT has yet to record any cases of community transmission of the virus. But according to Dr Coleman, it's inevitable it will happen.
"It will leak out, we cant keep it under control," she said.
"But we're ready, the next step is we just keep tightening that contact tracing and identifying those people.
"This will hit the ACT, we are just planning and being prepared for that.
"Now it is about suppressing that transmission, having as few possible people sick at each time."
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