Coronavirus helpline receives 13,000 calls in first week

Telephone. Source: Priit Luts/ERR

Almost 13,000 calls were made to the new Alert Center hotline 1247 for coronavirus (COVID-19) queries last week during the service's first seven days.

Kätlin Alvela, Director General of the Alert Center, said launching and maintaining this service has been a major challenge, but overall it has gone smoothly.

A total of 12,788 calls were made to the Alert Center information number in both Estonian, English and Russian. The callers were made from Estonia and people travelling to Estonia, such as Latvians and Finns.

The service launched on March 16 and will lighten the load of calls being made to the emergency service number 112 and the family doctors' helpline on 1220. The service is staffed by 100 volunteers and can give advice relating to the coronavirus but not medical advice.

The manned by the Ministry of the Interior, the Academy of Defense, with the help of the Rescue Board, the Ministry of the Environment and the Women's voluntary defence organization (Naiskodukaitse).

The majority of queries were made about how long a person should self-quarantine, crossing the border, what are the symptoms of the COVID-19 virus, benefits and sick leave, and whether people could go out to exercise.

"From the first week we can say that the number 1247 was well received," she said. "I am very grateful to all the volunteers and their employers for enabling us to get helpline manned so quickly and that the service started smoothly."


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Editor: Helen Wright

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