Never have the well wishes of the season to have a safe and happy Christmas been more important than in these uncertain times.
The latest COVID-19 outbreak in NSW has many people nervous and governments scurrying to reimpose border restrictions.
The NSW northern beaches cluster grew to 28 cases on Friday morning, with state borders slamming shut again before Christmas and travel plans disrupted.
The introduction of permit system by Victoria will certainly upset many hoping to cross for the holidays.
The latest coronavirus cluster has, like some of the numbers in Melbourne last week, been sourced to an international case.
But the results for a recently freed Victoria are eerily familiar.
The area has entered quasi-lockdown with authorities asking people to stay home and avoid non-essential visits to aged care facilities and hospitals, gyms, cafes and restaurants.
These are grim tidings at Christmas time for a reeling hospitality industry.
The spectre of a third wave cannot but help be front of mind for many people.
But what Victoria has proved is these swift and decisive controls work.
And hopefully we have learnt from mistakes making the rapid controls even more watertight.
The recognition of past success is not cause for hubris but to reaffirm the value of the health advice, and to cautiously hold to the best defence we have until a vaccine can free us all of this stalking scourge.
And if reflecting from a distance on Sydney's new misery can teach us anything, so too can the global picture and the big lesson of 2020 in considering just what it is we have bought with all the past year's misery.
Meanwhile, the international picture of those who would not or could not act to save lives grows worse by the day.
US coronavirus deaths soared to a daily record of 3580 and almost 250,000 new cases were reported.
Or in Sweden, the oft touted example of no-restrictions, even the King is apologising for the failure with 7900 people dead.
The Swedish death rate is 10 times higher than neighbours Norway and Finland and about five times greater than Denmark.
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