BMC sees 200% rise in calls, with many queries about home quarantine during lockdown

  • | Friday | 31st July, 2020

The civic body’s Covid-19 helpline (1916) recorded a sharp rise in the number of calls in July, with most of the queries relating to hospital admission and ambulances. Until May 22, the helpline had received 69,407 calls. As of July 29, the total number of calls received were 210,694.

The civic body’s Covid-19 helpline (1916) recorded a sharp rise in the number of calls in July, with most of the queries relating to hospital admission and ambulances. Until May 22, the helpline had received 69,407 calls. As of July 29, the total number of calls received were 210,694.

On an average, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) receives 2,172 calls every day on the helpline.

The disaster response helpline (1916) has been dedicated to fielding citizens’ queries regarding Covid-19 since the third week of April. Since then, data from BMC shows that the helpline received 69,407 calls till May 22. The number rose to 210,694 as of July 29.

Of these calls, 98,985 comprised Covid-19-related queries including availability of beds at hospitals and treatment centres, rules of home quarantine, and food supply. Inquiries about ambulance services made up 28,652 of the calls.

Initially, the centralised helpline number was manned by doctors and their teams, which led to crises in the civic body’s disaster control room.

Many called went unattended and patients were left waiting for hours, following which BMC decentralised the system. Since June, calls are diverted to the relevant ward, each of which have their own control centre, or war room.

“Now, the calls get diverted to the respective civic ward’s war rooms, resulting in a better response rate. On a daily basis, each ward gets around 100 calls of which 20% pertain to ambulances,” said Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner, BMC.

According to BMC, the number of calls received daily decreased in early June. “Earlier, we used to record over 4,000 daily calls, which declined to around 3,000 calls. At present, most of the calls are related to home quarantine and measures to be taken,” said Kakani.

A ward officer from G (North) ward, which covers Dadar and Dharavi, said that till the beginning of July, the war room received an average of 70 calls daily. The number has now come down to 40. “Now, due to fewer patients, more beds are available. This has helped stop panic calls from patients seeking beds. Also, the public is more aware of procedures and precautions,” said the officer.



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