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Covid-19 Thai hotline overwhelmed

The National Health Security Office (NHSO) reported on Wednesday that its Covid-19 hotline 1330 received more than 70,000 calls on March 1, the first day new conditions for treatment under the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients (UCEP) took effect.

Under old UCEP conditions, Covid patients received three days of free treatment at any facility before being switched to hospital treatment under their state health insurance scheme.

However, after March 1, those who test positive for Covid-19 but do not require critical care will have to pay their own medical bills if they choose to seek treatment at private hospitals.

Non-critical patients can still receive free Covid-19 treatment under home/community isolation.

“People have been calling in to the hotline to ask about the conditions for treatment in case they test positive for Covid-19, as well as how to register for home/community isolation,” said NHSO secretary-general Dr Jadet Thammathat-Aree.

“From February 21 to March 1, the 1330 hotline received around 40,000 calls per day.

The number of callers peaked on March 1 at around 70,300. Meanwhile, about 9,000 people per day have been contacting the NHSO via its Line official account and Facebook page.”

Jadet said the office is planning to add more volunteer operators to its existing 400 staffers.

“We have reached out to other agencies including the armed forces, Krungthai Bank and public nursing colleges to send in volunteers to help,” he said.

“Furthermore, Total Access Communication [Dtac] has provided mobile phone sim cards to increase available lines for the Covid-19 hotline.”

Jadet said that if the 1330 hotline is busy, people can contact the provincial public health office in their area via telephone, website or social media to inquire about Covid-19 treatment and community/home isolation system registration.

Bangkokians can also use the city’s dedicated channel for Covid-19 inquiries via Line @Bkkcovid19connect.

To register for community/home isolation, contact hotline 1330 and press 14. If this line is unavailable, send a message to the Line official account @nhso or to Facebook @NHSO.Thailand.

If more than six hours pass with no response, you can fill in the form at https://crmsup.nhso.go.th/#TicketHI

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