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One in eight believe 5G is spreading virus

One in eight Australians believe Microsoft founder Bill Gates is somehow responsible for the coronavirus and the 5G wireless network is to blame for spreading the disease.

The same number of people believe the pandemic is being used to force people into getting vaccinations.

The federal government has been forced to remind people the claims are bogus and tampering with 5G towers is a criminal offence.

"Any suggestions that there is a link between 5G and coronavirus are utterly baseless," Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said on Tuesday.

"There is no evidence that the use of these radio waves in mobile networks is harmful to health or related to the current health pandemic."

A new Essential poll has revealed the proportion of people who believe coronavirus conspiracy theories.

One in five people believe the media and government are exaggerating the death toll to scare the population.

Two in five think the virus was engineered and released from a lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which the prime minister has repeatedly said there is no evidence to support.

The same proportion of people rejected the theory, while a quarter are unsure.

An overwhelming majority of respondents (77 per cent) said the outbreak in China was much worse than reported in official statistics from Beijing.

The survey of 1073 people follows small protests across Australia led by 5G-conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers.

© AAP 2020