COVID-19 Update – March 20

On Thursday afternoon, it was confirmed that a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19 had been on flights that had flown into and out of Dubbo Regional Airport on March 10.

The flights in question were the 6.45am service from Sydney to Dubbo, and the 1.20pm service from Dubbo to Sydney, meaning the person was in the region for a period of approximately five hours.

I have been in contact with senior management within the Western NSW Local Health District (LHD) and work is being done to ensure contact is made with people who have come into contact with his particular person.

Once again, it is important to note that while testing is being undertaken, at the time of this release being distributed, there are no confirmed cases in Dubbo, Wellington, Narromine, Mudgee or the surrounding villages that make up the Dubbo electorate.

On Thursday the Western NSW Local Health District confirmed a case of COVID-19 in Bathurst, and a further case in Orange, taking the wider region’s figure to five.

The state’s total, at the time of this release being distributed, is now 382 confirmed cases across NSW.

The NSW Government is now basing about 20 agencies dealing with the response to the COVID-19 outbreak at the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) headquarters at Lidcombe, including police, health, education and transport services, amongst others.


Panic buying has been a hot topic of conversation in recent times, and it is irresponsible at a time when we need to be working together to ensure there is enough food, medication and sanitary products for everyone.

On Thursday I met with Dubbo pharmacist Greg Shearing to discuss the issues our chemists have been experiencing, with people stockpiling medications such as children’s Panadol and Nurofen, and asthma preventers such as Ventolin.

New rules have been introduced to stop this from happening, as there are vulnerable people in our communities who have been denied access to the medication they need.

As is the case with other forms of panic buying, whether it be food items of toilet paper and paper towels, panic buying is unnecessary and highly discouraged.

A video of myself with Mr Shearing can be found here and can be used by media organisations if they so desire to spread the message


A terrific decision was made by the NSW Government on Friday, allowing supermarkets across the State to receive deliveries 24 hours a day to restock their shelves.

Collaboration between Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes means the Government has moved to override local council rules that restrict some stores from restocking their shelves and operating their loading docks outside regular business hours.

The State Environmental Planning Policy Amendment (COVID-19 Response) 2020 makes clear that truck deliveries are able to supply shops and retailers with essential goods at all times to support communities. The new rules apply immediately and will be kept in place until the crisis is over. 


The NSW Government is aware that there is unprecedented demand for soap at schools, and the Department of Education has sourced additional supply.

I am informed that 3,000 cakes of soap are now being distributed to priority schools.

If a school is running low it needs to contact the Department of Education, and a hotline has been established for schools to contact the department should they or their suppliers be running low on soap and hygiene products (schools will have the hotline number).

The Department of Education will continue to be in regular contact with all principals to understand current levels of supplies of soap and hygiene products, but if you’re concerned about a shortage of soap and hygiene products at your school, contact the principal or email


Everyone needs to be vigilant when it comes to personal hygiene. This means cleaning hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.

It also means covering your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow, avoiding close contact with anyone showing symptoms and practicing social distancing.


Hospitals are a last resort and should only be visited by people who have been overseas within the past 14 days, or those in direct contact with a confirmed case. If you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, call your local GP or the Health Direct hotline (1800 022 222).

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