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A conspiracy theory is contributing to thousands of Victorians refusing COVID-19 test.

Conspiracy theories have come up time and time again throughout this global pandemic. At one point, people believed that 5G was the cause, while others were convinced that a $25,000 machine could cure the virus.

Now, thousands of Victorians have a new theory. And because of it, they have refused to get tested for COVID-19.

WATCH: 10,000 Victorians are refusing to get tested. Post continues below.


Video via Nine News

As of this morning, 36 Melbourne suburbs are in lockdown and residents are under strict stay at home orders. And despite 150,000 people being tested during this week alone, Victoria’s Health Minister Jenny Mikakos has revealed that 10,000 residents have refused it.

"Now 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," Mikakos shared.

"It is concerning that the reports that I have received are that some people believe that coronavirus is a conspiracy or that it won’t impact on them."

One theory suggests that individuals are refusing to get tested as they believe the nasal swabs are being used to implement microchips.

This conspiracy theory began on Facebook, with thousands of users sharing a post that claims Bill Gates' foundation has funded efforts to implant microchips into people's noses or throats during the COVID-19 swab. 

"There’s no pandemic! What we’re really doing is implanting Bill Gates’ microchip. The Gates Foundation is paying $25k per implanted chip," says on post shared on June 7. An accompanying image has an arrow with the text 'implant microchip here', suggesting it sits on the end of the swab. 

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AFP Fact Checkthe world's leading fact checking organisation, says this theory has no basis whatsoever, and there are legitimate medical reasons for the way swabs are used during testing. BBC, Reuters and Fullfact are among dozens of other organisations to fact check these claims, and all have determined they are absolutely false. 

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd expressed his concern that people were refusing to be tested for the virus. 

He said, "This single source of information in truth I recommend is the health.gov.au website.

"If you hear different theories and you are not sure about it, do a search, look at the Australian government advice, it comes from the best experts we have right across the country, based on evidence around the world.

"Do not listen to the theories that you may be coming across on social media."

Listen to The Quicky, Mamamia's daily news podcast. In this episode, we discuss COVID-19 conspiracy theories. Post continues below.

Kidd added that if you live in a hotspot, you need to get tested. 

"If they are in an area of community transmission they may be affected and asymptomatic and at risk of infecting others," he explained to reporters on Friday.

"If you are approached and asked to have a test, please comply. You may be infected with COVID-19 and have no symptoms but still be infectious and putting at risk your own loved ones, your family, and your friends.

"Put your own mind at ease and put the minds of your family members at ease as well."

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos has shared that a 'super spreader' may be amongst these residents as the numbers are increasing daily. This is Victoria's 17th straight day with new double-digit coronavirus cases; with 66 new cases confirmed overnight.

They are in discussions about shutting down more suburbs.

Feature image: Getty.

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