THERE'S at least a three-hour drive between Tamworth patients and a coronavirus [covid-19] test clinic.
Member for New England Barnaby Joyce is determined to have one established in the New England North West, given the closest clinics are in Dubbo and Newcastle.
"The biggest issue here, and everybody's saying it, is to keep the curve flat," he said.
"I'm going to be lobbying for them [clinics] here.
"That is definitely something our office is onto, we need to get more of these in our areas and I think we have very good reasons to ask for it and I'll be doing precisely that."
As of Tuesday afternoon there were 375 people diagnosed with covid-19, 27 of those have recovered and five have died.
The clinics have been established to assess and test people with fever, cough and flu-like symptoms who are returned travellers or a contact of a confirmed case.
There is a global shortage of the test kits that pathologists use to diagnose covid-19.
To deal with the shortage, NSW Health is doing targeted tests, instead of widespread tests, and is encouraging the public to practise social distancing.
As of Tuesday afternoon there were no confirmed cases of covid-19 in Tamworth, but Mr Joyce said even when it does come here it won't bring the city to a standstill.
"The only thing that will bring these places to our knees is between our ears, our attitude," he said.
"I think the biggest issue in the short-term is diagnosis. I think once we get proper diagnostic tools it's going to be really good for the confidence of people.
"I've sent through messages via the deputy prime minister and prime minister. The only thing we can do at this stage is mitigate."
Mr Joyce maintained he had been in contact with the federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, but did not define exactly what he had requested from him.