REPEATEDLY last year, as the Hunter feared coronavirus would hit, public health physician Dr David Durrheim drove home the importance of limiting travel during lockdowns.
In August, when a Hunter family cluster threatened to break into something bigger, Dr Durrheim said: "We know that while there is movement between Newcastle and Sydney that the opportunity for reintroduction of the virus is possible."
And so it's been again since the situation became serious in Sydney late last month.
Again and again, concerns have been raised about the movement of people up and down the M1 every day, many of them perfectly legally, under the terms of the lockdown restrictions.
COVID vaccination NSW:
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been forced to tighten the screws on her original lockdown "lite" regime.
Case numbers have risen to about 150 a day, with about a third in the community while infectious.
Each day, further exposure sites are added to an already long list.
A slow geographic spread might eventually prove unstoppable.
But the one thing the government can do something about - limiting the numbers of transient visitors - seems to have been put in the too-hard basket.
The police are doing a vigilant and valiant job policing the roads.
Uber drivers have been a particular target, following news that operators of the ride-share service had come from Sydney for work.
But concerns remain that building workers are still commuting from the lockdown area, and home-buying is still apparently a "reasonable excuse" to drive up the coast.
As Dr Durrheim says, if the virus arrives in our region, it will be because someone brought it here.
If it does get a toehold, what happens next is largely up to us.
We mask up. We socially distance.
And if we look at the evidence around us, we will agree to get the jab.
In the USA, where Republicans like to sneer at Democrats wearing masks, the Delta variant is filling hospitals with sick and dying people, almost all of them unvaccinated.
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