The lives of Victorians were turned upside down on Friday afternoon when Premier Daniel Andrews announced a "circuit-breaker" five-day lockdown in a bid to curb the latest COVID-19 outbreak.
Mr Andrews, in a marathon press conference, repeatedly stressed this strain of coronavirus was different to the one which saw two prolonged lockdowns in 2020, gutting the state's economy.
The latest outbreak, yet again the result of another failing of the state's hotel quarantine program, is moving fast, faster than last year's strain. And that is why Mr Andrews, his government and the state's health department opted for the five-day lockdown they hope will curb the spread.
South-west Victorians' initial reactions were of shock and anger that they were now subjected to strict stage four restrictions. You can only leave your house for one of four reasons and must not travel more than five kilometres from your residence. You can only exercise for two hours away from your house but within five kilometres.
School classrooms will again be empty on Monday, hospitality and tourism businesses will be out of pocket again and sport and community events postponed. The negative reaction was understandable. No one wants to be locked at home for five days with no visitors allowed, especially when there have been no cases in the region since September.
But put the emotion and disappointment to one side. The government's decision is made in the best interests of all Victorians. The decision is designed to curb the spread and not jeopardise the lives of our aged and vulnerable. Mr Andrews did not look to spare us from the concern that unless the community got on top of this latest outbreak, the virus would remain with us until the state's vaccination program was completed, in some months' time.
Given what we have endured and how much we all coveted the freedoms we gained from cooperating under earlier lockdowns, we know what is required of us and what we should do to help one another through this latest chapter in the crisis that has been our constant companion for too long.