Estonia's new coronavirus helpline opens also to calls from abroad

  • 2020-03-17
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Over 2,000 calls were received by Estonia's new coronavirus information helpline at 1247 during the first 24 hours of operation, and starting from Tuesday calls to the helpline can be made also from abroad by dialing +372 600 1247, officials said on Tuesday.

Calls made to the information helpline during the first 24 hours numbered 2,129. Calls to the helpline are answered by almost 50 interior security employees in Estonian, Russian and English.

Helmer Hallik, head of the crisis response headquarters at the Emergency Response Center,  said that the workload of the general emergency line 112 continues to be high, but is on a slight  downward trend.

During the past 24 hours, 3,335 calls in total were made to the emergency line 112 to call the police, ambulance or the rescue service.

"People's need for information continues to be high, and in fact people today need the support of the state. In light of the false information that started to spread yesterday, the existence of an official hotline is indispensable. Please call 1247 to check on the information that is spreading,"  Hallik said.

People's questions to the hotline at 1247 mostly are to do with symptoms of coronavirus and the restrictions on movement imposed to prevent the spread of the virus. The first day demonstrated that the need exists to also provide information to Estonians who are currently in other countries, Hallik said.

"Yesterday we received calls very often, for instance, from mothers and fathers asking for information for their children living abroad. For such people we have opened the phone number +372 600 1247, which allows calls to be made also from abroad," the official added. 

Rates for the calls are as per rates of the operator in the country where the call is made. 

People are reminded that calls concerning situations where someone's life, health or property is in danger are still awaited at the general emergency line 112. At the hotline at 1247 information can be received about the spread of the coronavirus and the emergency situation.

"Please let us keep the 112 lines free for those who urgently need an ambulance, the police or the rescue service to come to their aid,“ Hallik said, begging residents to be understanding. 

For medical advice and consultation the family doctor helpline at 1220 should be called.