MELBURNIANS had two reasons to celebrate at the weekend, with the victories of suburban Richmond over regional Geelong in the AFL on Saturday night, and the Melbourne Storm's hang-on win against the Penrith Panthers on Sunday night.
But the loudest cheers from south of the border will surely be for the long-awaited news that Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has confirmed the easing of that state's coronavirus restrictions.
COVID QUICK CHECK:
With no new cases on Monday - for the first time since June 9 - and no more deaths to report, Mr Andrews was presented with a statistical vindication of his government's hard line approach to virus management.
The eased restrictions, however, still require people to work from home where possible, so the Melbourne CBD will be a tumbleweed town for a while to come.
It will take a year's worth, or more, of ABS bulletins and financial data before the measurable costs can be officially calculated.
But the citizens of Victoria have paid an enormous price for what has become, in the end, an eradication strategy, even if the original aim was simple suppression.
Every government around the world will call the situation as they see it, but the long-term future of Australia's wrestle with COVID-19 rests, ultimately, with the situation abroad.
And the numbers continue to reach ever-dizzier heights, with a new record of more than 506,000 cases reported on Friday.
The same day, 6956 fatalities were added to a list of more than 1.15 million dead, from some 43.1 million confirmed cases.
Many thought they had the virus under control the first time around, only to face deadly second waves.
The implications of this should be clear.
Victorians might finally be able to move about again, but there will be no resumption of mass travel, in or out of Australia, for a long time to come.
Pessimism should not crush hope, but there are obvious dangers from indulging in false optimism.
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