Authorities in Victoria have revealed thousands of people have refused to be tested for coronavirus, with many citing their belief that the virus is a conspiracy.
It comes as Victoria records 66 new cases overnight, with officials believing the rate of new transmissions is starting to plateau.
Victoria’s total now stands at 2368 with 442 of those cases active.
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The state has 23 people in hospital with six of those being treated in intensive care.
Of the new cases, one has been detected in hotel quarantine, 17 are linked to known outbreaks, 20 are from routine testing and a further 28 are still under investigation.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says they are still a long way from being out of the woods, but there are some optimistic signs.
“While it may be too early for us to be talking about trends, a day with 66 is obviously far preferable to seeing a doubling then a doubling again,” Mr Andrews said.
“We can’t predict what tomorrow’s numbers will be, we do need more time in order to get a firmer hold on whether there is a positive trend there, but certainly, to see these numbers relatively consistent is very pleasing.”
Mr Andrews has thanked the 300,000 residents across 10 postcodes that are currently subject to lockdown restrictions.
“I know it is frustrating, I know it is very challenging and people would prefer not to be in the circumstances we are in, I understand that.
“We all desperately want this to be over.”
However officials have raised concerns about the huge number of people who have refused to be tested.
Around 10,000 people have turned down testers in the hotspot areas.
“That might be for a range of reasons, including that they may have already been tested in a different location, we are analysing that data to see exactly why people are refusing,” Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said.
“But it is concerning that some people believe that coronavirus is a conspiracy or that it won’t impact on them.
“So what I want to stress here is that coronavirus is a very contagious virus, it can go through your family very quickly, it can affect your neighbours, your loved ones, and your entire community.”