London, UK, March 13, 2020 -- People who are worried they might have coronavirus symptoms but don’t require medical help or hospitalisation are being told not to call the NHS 111 helpline.
That was the advice offered to the public by prime minister Boris Johnson and a team of medical experts following an emergency Cobra meeting on Thursday 13 March.
"I urge people who think in view of what we’re saying about their potential symptoms that they should stay at home, not to call 111, but to use the internet for information if they can," Johnson said.
Data shared at the start of this week showed calls to the helpline were up by more than a third compared to the same time last year, with an extra 120,000 in the first week of March. The number’s call handlers, some of whom are students, took to social media to urge callers to "be kind" during a time of increased demand.
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The helpline has been so overwhelmed that the NHS launched an online service (NHS 111 online) – but that system also struggled to cope. It received one million views within a week and, at points, stopped working completely.
So, as cases in the UK are rising, what are the latest updates you need to know about calling the helpline – and will you get a test if you call?
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Published: Monday, March 16, 2020
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