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Covid helpline receives more than 51,000 calls

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAY 27, 2020 11:03 PM IST

The Delhi Police on Wednesday released data concerning calls they received on their Covid-19 helpline. The police received more than 51,000 calls inquiring about obtaining movement passes in the lockdown, the non-availability of food and money, medical emergencies, travel arrangements for migrants, and several distress calls.

The helpline was launched on March 24, the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the lockdown in the country to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). According to the police, they initially received around 1,100-12,00 calls every day, a majority of them for movement passes. The number has now come down to between 400 and 500 per day in the last couple of weeks

The police said that 1,330 people called the helpline — 011-23469526 —from March 24 till Wednesday morning, regarding the non-availability of money, food, ration or other essential items. All the 1,330 people were called back on the mobile numbers through which they had contacted the police.

“We found that 880 people have already left the city. We delivered ration kits, each containing four kg rice, five kg flour, two kg pulses, one kg salt, oil and spices, to the remaining 450 who are still here,” Delhi Police spokesperson Mandeep Singh Randhawa said.

During the first three-four weeks, on an average, the police said they received 30 calls every day concerning the lack of food and money, but in the last couple of weeks, this number has come to two or four calls.

Police data shows that a total of 51,041 calls was received on the helpline till 8am on Wednesday and a majority of them—32,127 calls—were regarding the issue of movement passes, which allow the movement of a person or vehicle during the lockdown. A total of 5,581 people called the helpline from outside Delhi.

“A total of 402 callers were stuck at some other place, away from their family members, but wanted to return. We counselled many of them and told them to stay put wherever they were unless there is a medical or another emergency. About 565 calls were related to medical emergencies while 69 calls were from senior citizens for various queries,” deputy commissioner of police (licensing) Asif Mohammad Ali, who is supervising the helpline, said.

The helpline also received 63 Covid-19-related calls and 21 psychological distress calls. A total of 9,074 were miscellaneous calls, the DCP said.

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