Victoria to pause non-urgent surgeries

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Victoria will pause non-urgent surgeries to deal with rising demand for the pubic health system, as the state begins recruiting up to 1000 healthcare workers from outside Australia.

Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed public hospitals will from Thursday only be performing urgent category one and two surgeries.

"As COVID cases increase, we foreshadowed that we will be shifting capacity from the state sector to the private sector, and with that we will be progressively seeking to switch off elements of non-urgent care," he told reporters.

"This is an unfortunate, but necessary, measure to take account of the increased demand ... and we can't rule out further changes."

The numbers of Victorians in hospital with COVID-19 keeps rising, with 675 patients on Monday, of whom 144 are in ICU including 100 on ventilators.

Unlike in 2020, when all elective surgeries were switched off at once, Mr Foley said this year the government had been "progressively" moving capacity out of the health system.

"It will apply differently in the regions and it will apply differently depending where the levels of demand are on those public healthcare systems," he said.

The government will inject $255 million into creating a new hospital surge support allowance for healthcare workers treating COVID-positive patients, of up to $60 per shift for the next four months.

The new allowance will kick in from this week.

On top of that spending, there will also be another $2.5 million to recruit up to 1000 international healthcare workers, with 60 per cent of the recruits Australians overseas.

The nurses, doctors, midwives, and allied health workers will arrive between November this year and March 2022, Mr Foley said.

Meanwhile, half a million Victorians have uploaded their vaccination certificate to the Services Victoria app since the vaccine passport system was launched on Monday.

Government Services Minister Danny Pearson told state parliament on Tuesday that number is "growing by 10,000 certificates every 10 minutes".

Fourteen regional venues are trialling the system, which will be rolled out in Melbourne once lockdown lifts and businesses can reopen.

Since recording 1965 cases on Saturday, the state's daily numbers have trended down, with another 1466 infections on Tuesday.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he was "cautiously optimistic" about the decline in case numbers.

"It's terrific to have seen a consistent drop over a few days," he said.

"It's not definitive, we can see numbers bounce around and we can see behavioural changes change the numbers a few days later."

Four men and four women died on Monday, bringing the toll from the current outbreak to 101.

Almost 60 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 are now fully vaccinated, 59.8 per cent, while 86.7 per cent have received one COVID-19 vaccine dose.

State opposition leader Matthew Guy is calling for the Victorian government to "sync" its restrictions with those in NSW, once 70 per cent of the state is fully vaccinated.

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