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With surge in enquiries, most Covid helplines unreachable in Bengaluru | Bengaluru News – Times of India

With surge in enquiries, most Covid helplines unreachable in Bengaluru | Bengaluru News - Times of India

BENGALURU: The BBMP helplines set up to address Covid-19-related concerns seem to be of little help. Many citizens say they are either unable to connect or the lines are not reachable.
Following several such complaints, TOI did a reality check and found most helplines remained busy.
While TOI tried all the zonal helplines, executives at Mahadevapura responded to the call, while the rest of them were busy. An official at Mahadevapura zone said there are 12 executives in their zone and each one of them receive at least 100 calls a day. The east zone helpline was not even reachable. However, BBMP chief commissioner Gaurav Gupta said the second number at east zone (9886496295) was functioning.
Mahadevapura officials said the calls were mostly to do with bed allotment at hospitals, to get BU (Bengaluru Urban) code number and to ask what medicines to take.
On Saturday, Kaushik M Bhat, who was trying to contact helplines to get a BU number to admit his uncle, who tested positive, said: “My uncle had travelled from Maharashtra and was under quarantine. He tested positive and on Saturday his oxygen levels dropped to 80. Besides reaching out to private hospitals, where the response was negative, I tried the government helplines, but in vain.” Bhat said he tried connecting to the helplines for at least four hours.
The situation was no different with other helplines such as 1912 and 108, where the calls took long to connect. A civil defence personnel working as a volunteer said even if helpline executives recieve a call, they collect the details but never respond. People have lost hope from these helplines, he added.
The surge in number of calls started nearly 10 days ago after Covid-19 cases began to spike in the city. As on Friday, Bengaluru city had 1,49,624 active Covid cases, of which 90 per cent are in home quarantine. The rest of them are either at Covid care centres or hospitals. Out of 198 wards in the city, 196 have more than 50 cases and the positivity rate has reached 10.1 per cent.
Meanwhile, Gaurav Gupta said that there has been a three-fold increase in human resource at BBMP zonal helplines in the last one week. “There were issues with 1912 but those have been resolved. Also, 30 more lines have been added.”
On reasons as to why people are approaching BBMP helplines, Gupta said that a few private laboratories are delaying or defaulting on uploading Covid-19 certificates on the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) portal. “We had issued notices to a few of the laboratories, which have remained unresponsive. We will shut down those laboratories. Once the results begin to reach the public, the burden on helplines will reduce.”

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