We will never know precisely how effective and necessary it was for NSW to close its border with Victoria for 137 days, a policy that ended this week..
Hopefully the once-in-a-century pandemic like the coronavirus and the second wave that hit Melbourne and parts of regional Victoria will not be repeated any time soon.
The border closure was certainly popular with many readers and polls showed strong support outside of areas that were split apart by checkpoints or blocked roads.
There are numerous stories of tragic separations and hardship suffered by people in border regions across Australia during the pandemic.
The prospect of most families being able to reunite in some way for Christmas should help improve morale and mental health.
To a nation of people used to crossing state borders with no more fanfare than spotting a welcoming roadside billboard, the past few months have seemed extraordinary and surreal.
It will be in Australia's best interest if the opening of state borders can signal the start of a new phase in the war against the virus, one in which contact tracing and outbreak suppression will take the place of military and police checkpoints between states.
As incidents in New Zealand and South Australia have shown, closed borders are no guarantee that an area will remain coronavirus-free.
As always the best protection we all have is caution and honesty.
This new battle depends on everybody adhering to social distancing rules, checking in at public venues, and giving honest answers to contact tracers.
We all continue to practice good hygiene and keep our distance from the elderly or those with health issues until we can be tested and cleared of COVID-19 then we're all helping to win the war against this virus.
Otherwise we risk states and territories retreating behind borders again, which is an option that will further damage the economy, our population's mental health and society while both are still in recovery.
There are some promising signs that an effective vaccine will be available within the next 12 to 18 months .
However until a vaccine has been approved, Australia will have to get used to living with the likelihood of periodic virus outbreaks.This is not the future we imagined in our wildest dreams but it's the reality we have no choice but to face.
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