Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has hit back at criticism over his decision to not fine five families who ignored rules and created a coronavirus cluster as the state attempts to drill down numbers.
Health officials confirmed earlier this week they were racing to stop infections growing in the Casey and Dandenong council areas on the Melbourne's southeast rim.
It was revealed five families from Clyde, Cranbourne North, Hallam and Narre Warren South have been linked to 34 active cases after breaching the 5km travel limit for visits, during which they didn’t wear masks.
When asked by reporters how he responded to criticism over his decision to not fine the families $1652 for violating the COVID-19 restrictions, Mr Andrews said the penalty could prevent people from telling the truth, which hinders contact tracing.
“If people are going to get fined for telling the truth in that circumstance ... well then, I think we know what happens. People won't tell the truth and we won't know where they've been, who they've infected, and we won't be able to pull up an outbreak at 40 – there'll be hundreds,” Mr Andrews said.
The premier said he is “angry” and “frustrated” with people who are doing the wrong thing but the “truth is worth everything”.
“The gold, what the absolute fortune here is getting truthful, honest and complete information so that you can isolate other people [and] do the contact tracing,” he said.
“The alternative is dangerous. Without the truth there is no contact tracing. There is no contact tracing unless people are giving you accurate and fulsome information.”
Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton said on Saturday the cluster is “under control”.
Victoria's new coronavirus cases fall below 15
The state recorded 14 new infections and five more deaths on Sunday.
The number of infections with an unknown source are lower than those recorded on Saturday as the state “moves toward COVID normal”, the health department said on Twitter on Sunday morning.
The last time the number of infections dipped below 15 was on June 19.
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