Estonian Emergency Response Centre and the Health Board to open hotline 1247 in connection with the spread of coronavirus

Since Monday, 16 March, the Emergency Response Centre will open the hotline 1247 to provide information on issues related to coronavirus. The hotline will be available 24/7 and it is free of charge for the callers.

According to the Director General of the Emergency Response Centre Kätlin Alvela, the primary aim of the hotline is to decrease the workload of the emergency number 112, the family doctor hotline 1220 as well as other helplines. The prevention of the spread of the virus has brought about a number of changes in our daily life and the new hotline 1247 will provide the respective information.

“Ever since last Thursday, the number of emergency calls received in 24 hours related to possible corona virus infections has increased fourfold. Added to that all the calls that eventually did not require the dispatch of an ambulance crew, the Emergency Response Centre takes around 800 calls in a day that one way or another are related to coronavirus. In addition, there are also information requests regarding the emergency situation declared in Estonia,” the Director General of the Emergency Response Centre described.

According to the Minister of the Interior Mart Helme, it is of utmost importance that in a critical situation people get information fast and from reliable sources. “Considering the fact that the government declared an emergency situation and the spread of corona virus has given rise to various questions that are not directly related to people’s health, we considered it important to open a hotline at the Emergency Response Centre to give answers precisely to those questions,” the Minister of the Interior said. “I encourage everybody to call the number 1247 to get relevant and up-to-date information as well as instructions on how to cope in the emergency situation and stop the spread of the disease,” Helme added.

The hotline 1247 will give information on various issues concerned with coronavirus and its spread. It does not provide medical advice or consultation. For medical advice and family doctor consultation, people still need to dial 1220 where the calls will be taken by people with medical qualification. In case you need an ambulance, dial 112. The new hotline 1247 will focus on issues that are not covered by 112 and 1220.

“We will do everything in our power to meet people’s increased need for information on the changes in their daily life via the Emergency Response Centre hotline 1247. At the same time, we also ask for people’s patience and understanding,” Alvela said.

The Emergency Response Centre has collected data from various institutions on people’s needs for information related with coronavirus through their channels, and the given institutions will ensure that the respective information on the changes will reach the hotline 1247.

The decision on opening the hotline was made by the Health Board and the service will be provided by the Emergency Response Centre. It is the first time when the state will implement the hotline 1247 to meet the public’s need for information. The technological specifications for the service were developed by the IT and Development Centre of the Ministry of the Interior. The hotline will be available 24/7 and the calls will be taken by employees of the internal security sector not directly related with the crisis management, employees of other public sector institutions and also the Women’s Voluntary Defence Organisation.