Thailand national Covid-19 hotline gets over 70,000 calls a day, system “overwhelmed”

People testing positive for Covid-19 are overwhelming Thailand’s national Covid-19 hotline with calls, despite the majority of people infected with Omicron having mild or no symptoms. The National Health Security Office announced today that there are now over 70,000 calls a day, and this is “exceeding the system capability”. The highest ever number of calls came on Tuesday, with 70,300 calls, and over 12,000 messages on non-voice direct channels.

This news comes as the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration is making an effort to “change people’s mindset” about Covid-19. The centre is trying to calm people’s worries and remind them that for most people, Covid-19 isn’t an emergency requiring doctors or hospitals. The CCSA says it’s been a challenge to reassure people, particularly in rural areas where there have been little to no Covid-19 cases. It said people in these areas often confuse the Delta and Omicron variants, even though Delta is usually more severe.

The NHSO secretary-general told the Associated Press the hotline had over 400 volunteers, but now it’s trying to mobilise more.

The hotline isn’t the only Thai facility overwhelmed by people using it. On Sunday, the Rural Doctors Society reported a shortage of the Covid-19 medicine Favipiravir in rural hospitals and community isolation centres. The Public Health Ministry Secretary warned patients the drug is “not a snack” and from now on will only be given to patients with moderate or worse symptoms.

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SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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