Alarm Center opens 24/7 coronavirus helpline ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Family doctors' advice hotline.
Family doctors' advice hotline. Source: ERR

A new 24/7 coronavirus hotline was opened by the Alarm Center on Monday which will provide information and answer questions. The number to call is 1247 and there is no charge.

The director general of the Alarm Center, Katlin Alvela, said the new helpline is aimed at taking off workload from the general emergency line 112, the family doctor helpline 1220 and other helplines.

The helpline at 1247 focuses on all the topics that are not covered by 112 and 1220.

Measures to contain the spread of the virus have brought with them a number of changes to the organization of our daily lives, about which information can be received at 1247.

Alvela said: "From last Thursday, the number of daily calls about coronavirus suspicions to the ambulance service quadrupled. If we add to that contacts which didn't require the response of the ambulance service, the Alarm Center deals with about 800 calls daily that are to do with the coronavirus in one way or another. Added to this are information requests concerning the emergency situation in effect in Estonia."

Interior Minister Mart Helme (EKRE) described it as extremely important that people in a critical situation can get necessary information from a reliable source and quickly. 

"Considering that the emergency situation declared by the government and the spread of the coronavirus are causing a multitude of questions among many residents of Estonia that are not directly related to health, we considered it necessary to open an information helpline at the Alarm Center specifically for people to be able to get answers to these questions," the minister said. 

Calls can be made to 1247 to get information about different matters concerning the coronavirus and the spread of the virus, but not medical advice and consultation. For the latter, residents should still call 1220, where calls are answered by people with training in medicine. If an ambulance needs to be called, the number to call is still 112.

"We are doing our utmost for people's significantly increased need for information about changes to the organization of life to be met via the Alarm Center's helpline at 1247. We also beg people for understanding and patience," Alvela said.

The technology of the helpline was developed by the Interior Ministry's IT and development center. Calls to the helpline are answered on the premises of the Alarm Center by internal security employees not connected with the resolving of the crisis, employees from other public sector institutions and volunteers of Naiskodukaite, women's arm of the Kaitseliit (Defense League) volunteer defense corps. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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