Moree mayor says 'shut shops, stay at home' in COVID-19 outbreak

Stay at home, says Moree mayor, as COVID-19 cases surge

Coronavirus
Moree was hit by major flooding in March .. now the town is trying to cope with a surge in COVID-19 cases. Photo by Sascha Estens.

Moree was hit by major flooding in March .. now the town is trying to cope with a surge in COVID-19 cases. Photo by Sascha Estens.

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Mayor urges four day lockdown to be 'reviewed on Monday'

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Moree is under its own self-enforced type of lockdown as COVID-19 cases surge after several super spreader events.

All staff and students at Moree Secondary College have been forced into isolation and the Moree Plains Shire Mayor has made the extraordinary plea for all Moree residents to stay at home if possible until Monday next week (November 8).

Mayor Katrina Humphries has also urged non-essential Moree shops to close.

There were 35 positive COVID cases in the shire reported there on Thursday.

In a statement issued from the Moree Council website Mrs Humphries said on behalf of all councillors to "Dear sad community" :

"In light of the dreadful infection rates in Moree and its surroundings, we are requesting that we all stay at home wherever possible, work from home if possible, shut our shops and get off the streets.

"We need to take the pressure off our medical teams and try to take the sting out of this awful situation we are in. I call for this voluntary 'Get off the streets' to start as quickly as possible this evening, Thursday 4 November for review on Monday, 8 November 2021.

"Our COVID cases are doubling daily and there is a lack of QR coding information because some reckless people have not been following the health guidelines. There has been no directive - to date - from NSW Health and it is obvious to me that we have an enormous issue that is running rampant through our community.

"Residents of Moree and surroundings, stay at home unless you need to get tested, need medical help or emergency supplies; or if you are an essential services provider and/or agricultural/harvest workers. The harvest season is underway and this really needs to continue. We need to look after ourselves and we need to be proactive.

"The virus is here and what we have feared all along has now come to fruition. We simply have to give ourselves a chance to beat it."

Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall also urged Moree residents to be cautious, advising all secondary college students and staff should isolate.

A statement placed on his website said: "Unfortunately, due to members of the school community having tested positive for COVID-19, both campuses of Moree Secondary College will be closed and non-operational tomorrow to allow time for contact tracing and deep cleaning.

"All staff and students have been asked to self-isolate until they receive further advice. There is no requirement to get tested at this time.

"Learning from home resources have been made available from the learning from home hub for students.

"NSW Health has requested anyone who has been unwell or if you develop any symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, loss of smell/taste, muscle/joint pains, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting or extreme tiredness to get tested. The school community will be advised of any updates by the Principal."

A public health controller David Durrheim told ABC that he had "very real concerns" about the increase in cases in the region.

Also read: Victoria, NSW open border to 'free travel'

"The New England region now accounts for half the Hunter New England cases and we've seen a rapid escalation of cases in Moree and in Inverell," he said.

"These cases are linked to what appears to be a number of superspreader events - a funeral, a wake, a number of social gatherings and a celebration where many people, many Aboriginal people, came together and unfortunately COVID has spread in that group like wildfire."

COVID-19 cases in Hunter New England made up almost a third of all cases in NSW, reported on Wednesday.

Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce was in Moree this week with Federal Parkes MP Mark Coulton announcing new progress on inland rail.

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