The ACT was the last Australian jurisdiction to record a case of COVID-19, and it might soon become the first state or territory to be without known traces of coronavirus since the second week of March.
There are just nine active cases of the virus in the nation's capital - a number decreasing each day as more people recover from the disease.
More than 88 per cent of the territory's 104 cases have overcome the virus - the second highest rate of recovery behind Victoria.
Sadly, three people have died in Canberra after contracting the virus.
So, if the ACT reaches the point at which there are no known cases of COVID-19 inside its borders, does that mean the territory has successfully overcome the pandemic?
Is it the green light to reopen the bars and restaurants and allow Canberrans to gather once more at events and sporting matches?
Would it mean that we have won the war?
The simple answer is no. Not yet, at least.
'It aint going away anytime soon'
Even if there are no known COVID-19 cases in the ACT, Australian National University infectious diseases expert Peter Collignon says its almost certain that the virus is still present in the community - we just haven't detected it.
That's because some people who contract coronavirus experience such mild symptoms that they may not even feel ill.
The ACT government is expected to announce on Wednesday a further expansion of the testing criteria for COVID-19, as it attempts to pick up traces of the virus which may have slipped through the net.
Professor Collignon says there is also the risk that the virus could be re-introduced from interstate or overseas.
"This is a long-term issue that we are going to have," he says. "This virus aint going to go away anytime soon."
The only of "hope" of eliminating the virus, he says, is finding a safe and effective vaccine to immunise the population.
But that could be 18 months to two years away, he says.
So if the virus is going to stubbornly linger for the foreseeable future, does that mean the restrictions which have so constrained our daily lives will too?
The answer is yes and no.
'We cannot return to what it was like in November'
Starting with a ban on "non-essential" outdoor gatherings of 500 or more people, Prime Minister Scott Morrison's national cabinet of state and territory leaders agreed to implement a series of incrementally stricter measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Australia.
The national cabinet set a baseline level for restrictions, with some states - such as Victoria and NSW - electing to take a more hardline approach through stricter public health directions.
In the ACT, gatherings of more than two people are presently banned, with an exception for members of the same family or households.
Canberrans can be fined $8000 for breaching the order, although ACT Policing, unlike their counterparts in NSW, are seeking to educate before they enforce.
Gyms have been forced to shut, while cafes, restaurants and bars can only serve takeaway.
The national cabinet is set to review the baseline restrictions in three weeks' time, with a view to possibly rolling some back if certain criteria are met.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr has made clear that any easing of restrictions in the ACT will be a slow and incremental process.
Mr Barr last week suggested that in the first instance, the two-person limit might be relaxed to allow gatherings of 10 people. Earlier this month he indicated that universities, vocational education institutions and schools might be the first parts of the community to reopen.
Mr Barr believes there is "no prospect" of large crowds, including for sporting matches and cultural events, being permitted until the pandemic has passed.
The hard closures of Australia's border could be among the last restrictions to be lifted, meaning overseas travel is off the cards for some time. Federal tourism minister Simon Birmingham cannot guarantee that international travel will be allowed this year.
Professor Collignon says even as shuttered businesses start to gradually reopen and gatherings and small crowds are permitted, restrictions will need remain in place.
For example, restaurants and cafe may be able to reopen, but only for outdoor dining. Even then, strict limits on the number of patrons per table could be imposed.
He stresses that he can only speculate on how the winding back of restrictions will be managed.
But he is certain that physical distancing, along with good hand hygiene, will need to be practiced for the foreseeable future - even if there are no known traces of COVID-19 in the ACT.
"My unfortunate view is that we cannot return to what we were like last November for quite a while," he says.
"Because this virus is everywhere around the world and it can easily multiply and come into [the country] if we continue doing what we were doing before [before the virus].
"So, we've got to maintain physical distancing as much as is practicable."
"That means the 1.5m rule. We have to make sure that people who are sick stay at home, don't come to work or use public transport. If you're sick, just don't leave home."
So what does that mean for the resumption of sporting competitions - professional and grassroots?
Professor Collignon doesn't support the NRL's push to resume competition on May 28. In fact, he can't see how any contact sports - such as rugby league and Australian rules football - could safely be played this winter.
"Unfortunately, I don't think we are going to have much organised social sport this winter - how can you organise large numbers of people?" he says.
"Rugby, I can't see that happening in any safe way. The real trouble is winter is much more of a risk than now in my view because every other respiratory virus transmits much more in winter."
'Beware the second wave'
The dilemma facing the national cabinet is that any move to ease restrictions, while good for the economy and community morale, heightens the risk of further "waves" of the virus spreading through the community.
History has shown that the so-called "second wave" of a pandemic can prove deadlier than the first.
Originating in the US, the Spanish flu had three distinct waves from March 1918 to mid-1919, causing an estimated 50 million deaths globally.
The second wave, which proved the most lethal, was accelerated by the movement of troops across continents during World War 1.
While the risk of similar large-scale unconstrained transmission is greatly diminished by border closures and travel restrictions in place across the globe (not to mention the absence of a world war), Australian health authorities, independent experts and politicians remain on high alert for the prospect of a second deadly wave of COVID-19.
Mr Barr this week warned that any easing of restrictions in the nation's capital could expose Canberrans to a "second, third, fourth or fifth" wave of the pandemic.
Professor Collignon says while it is not inevitable that a second wave of infections will crash through the community, it is a risk and "we should be concerned about it".
Heightening those concerns is the fact that a next wave - should it eventuate - would likely hit near or during the winter flu season.
"I do think it is inevitable that we will probably have more cases in winter than we have now," he says.
"But if we keep on doing all of the right things - physical distancing, hand hygiene, don't go to work if you're sick and limiting crowds - we can actually really decrease the transmission of not only this virus, but all respiratory virus."
As Australia's daily rate of new infections continues to fall and calls for the easing of some restrictions grow louder, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other leaders have been keen to highlight the recent experience in countries such as Singapore and Japan to reinforce the perils of reopening the economy too quickly.
Singapore, which enjoyed early success in the fight against COVID-19, has been forced into partial lockdown until at least June 1 after a recent spike in new cases.
The number of cases in the city-state has more than doubled in the past week, on the back of outbreaks in dormitories housing migrant workers.
'Test, trace and contain'
Mr Morrison has set out three conditions for the lifting of restrictions in three week's time; increased testing; an "industrial scale capability" to trace contacts of known cases, and an enhanced capacity to respond to localised outbreaks, such as that which occurred in north-west Tasmania earlier this month.
The plan is for every jurisdiction to have the tools to be able to quickly detect and isolate cases, as well as their close contacts, so that mass outbreaks can be prevented.
Mr Barr this week said there was no better place to be in the world than the ACT at this point during the pandemic.
With the possibility that there might be no active cases of COVID-19 in the territory in the coming days, that may very well be true.
But even if the the ACT reaches that milestone, the fight against the virus is far from over.
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