'We move the virus': Police urge community to act now
Stopping the coronavirus pandemic from overtaking Tamworth and surrounding areas is a responsibility that lies with the public, said the city's leaders.
Detective Inspector Jeff Budd, a member of the Local Emergency Operations Control, said HNE Health had worked hard during this tough time.
He said it is irrelevant whether there are one or 100 cases in Tamworth; people need to be taking precautions.
"It is here," he said. "The only way we can deal with it is if the community takes control.
"The virus does not move. We move it."
Inspector Budd said police have seen "stupid things" in recent days where people have not been taking the self-distancing measures seriously.
"It's silly stuff," he said. "As of yesterday, the police commissioner has given us permission to issue $1000 tickets for people who can't be smart - that is not something we want to do."
Inspector Budd said they have been "inundated" with calls from people raising the alarm about those who are not complying with the rules.
Police are also in direct communication with the Australian Border Force about who has recently entered back into the country and should be in self-isolation.
"This is the time for the community to be smart," he said.
Inspector Budd said there is a sense of concern amongst officers as a pandemic such as this has not been seen in their lifetime, but at the end of the day, all are ready to do what they have to.
He added they had not received increase staff to deal with the fallout of Coivd-19, but police work continues as usual.
Inspector Budd said they had not seen a spike in crime since communities have started practising self-distancing and social isolation.
"We are ramping up," he said. "We are doing our job."
Inspector Budd said they are planning for every possible scenario as case numbers will no doubt increase in the region, but the community needs to act now to ensure the spread is minimal.
"A lot of people are going to be at home and isolated, so there will be a lot of eyes and ears out there," he said.
Tamworth mayor Col Murray reinforced the message that people need to self-isolate as much as possible.
"We have been very fortunate to date, but that is not something we can rely on in the future," he said.
"Our health facilities and capacity will be stretched, will be tested - that is inevitable. It is not a matter of if, but a matter of when.
"The overriding message is for people to take personal ownership of this challenge."
Cr Murray said so much happens behind the scenes that the community does not see, from the police through to the health staff on the ground.