Govt health hotline overwhelmed by callers with Covid

Govt health hotline overwhelmed by callers with Covid

National Health Security Office secretary-general Jadet Thammathat-aree (Photo: NHSO)
National Health Security Office secretary-general Jadet Thammathat-aree (Photo: NHSO)

The hotline of the National Health Security Office (NHSO) has been totally overwhelmed by Covid-positive people asking for advice.

NHSO secretary-general Jadet Thammathat-aree said on Wednesday that calls to the 1330 hotline had peaked at 70,300 on Tuesday, far beyond the capabilities of the 400 staff members and volunteers manning the phones.

The @nhso LINE and Facebook accounts to contact the agency were also swamped with more than 12,000 Covid-related queries, he said.

Last month, the NHSO advised the public to communicate with the office on the LINE platform - as an alternative channel to calling 1330 - in order to ease the workload at the call centre.

The hotline was receiving around 40,000 calls per day late last month, but the number jumped to about 70,000 in recent days and reached a new high on Tuesday.

Many callers asked what they should do once they tested positive for the coronavirus, and the process for home and community isolation, according to the NHSO.

The rising number of calls came as the number of new Covid infections surged above 20,000 cases per day.

Dr Jadet said more volunteers would be recruited to ease the workload. "The NHSO would like to apologise to everyone trying to contact us via all channels. The agency is trying to solve this problem as soon as possible," he said.

He asked patients in Bangkok to call the hotline number of the district office where they reside, and those outside the capital to contact their local health office.

Soon after the message was posted on the NHSO Facebook page, many responded with comments, complaining about no callbacks or busy lines.

"My ATK test was positive yesterday but I couldn't get through on 1330. I tried today but the lines were still busy," read one comment.


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