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Mr Hunt said the government is activating the private hospitals agreement, which was established over the course of late March and early April in 2020. 

The agreement was designed for supporting state hospital systems at any time where they may have significant numbers. 

“As Professor Kelly and I were just discussing, we have strong confidence in the Victorian hospital system and strong confidence in its preparedness that there is significant capacity within the system,” he said.

“But of course workforce challenges not just in hospitals, but in workplaces in any Omicron-affected area, remain the principal challenge. 

“So this is a response to that. The private hospitals agreement will see up to 57,000 nurses and over 100,000 staff made available to Omicron-affected areas around the country.

“The states and territories will where necessary work directly with the staff and with the hospitals themselves.

“Whether it’s the large private hospital networks or the smaller private hospitals, it will be up to the states and territories to activate those.”

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