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News : Tamil Nadu Brings More Hands for Covid Helpline as Cases Surge


Chennai, India, April 19, 2021 -- The number of calls received at Tamil Nadu’s Covid-19 helpline-- 044-29510500, has peaked with the alarming rise in the number of infections in the state during the second wave of the viral disease. The authorities have hired additional eight hands to man the center housed at the directorate of public health (DPH) in Chennai.

A helpline staff said it takes six people in each of the three shifts to respond to about 1,800 to 2,000 calls received daily these days. Dr Praveen Sunder, a new recruit, was asked to leave his field duty to man the helpline’s need for manpower.

"Because of the surge in cases we are getting more calls, so I was brought in from April 1," says Sunder. As a doctor employed with the directorate, Sunder was involved in distribution of medicines for Covid treatment and spreading awareness last year. Now, on the helpline duty, he claims he answers 100-150 calls during his eight hour shift. On an average, the Center has received more than a 1,000 calls every day since mid-March, said another helpline staff.

The calls to the helpline are handled by doctors, health inspectors and other staff of the public health directorate, who share relevant information with the callers following the Covid-19 guidelines released periodically by the state government. A television plays out news 24 hours at the center, allowing the shift in-charge to update staff on the latest Covid-related regulations and other developments.

Most calls that Sunder and his colleagues receive these days are queries on vaccines and e-pass rules. "They call to find out about any precautionary measures to take before getting vaccinated, what kind of side-effects they can expect and many people are also confused over the interval between the two doses," said Sunder. "Some of them also call if they have a headache or any sort of pain after getting vaccinated. If they test positive, they ask if they can remain in home quarantine and when they should take a CT (Computed Tomography)".

However, when people in medical emergency situations tend to call Tamil Nadu’s 108 ambulance service, he said.

The helpline also receives calls from other states and even countries to know if there will be a lockdown in Tamil Nadu and if they require an e-pass to enter. "People call us from other countries like the UK and Canada before they plan their travel," says Sunder.

His colleague who did not wish to be named has been working in the control room since last March when Tamil Nadu reported its first infection. She said the number of calls had increased to the levels seen between March and July last year, adding that in February she used to answer less than 35 calls, which has more than doubled to around 100 now.

Tamil Nadu reported 6,993 daily cases on July 27 at the peak of the infections last year, which has been surpassed this year during the second wave with record 7,819 cases registered on April 14.

"We are like a hub," she says. "When we get specific queries on testing centres or bed availability, we connect the callers to our district centres."

However, there are a few complaints with the helplines at the district centres. For instance, a resident of Chengalpattu district, who didn’t wish to be named, said he called the local helpline-- 044-27427412 twice to complain against an infected person, who was roaming freely within their apartment complex. "We have elders and kids who live here and I’m worried," he said. "They just forwarded my complaint to the local municipality to fumigate the place and put a notice in that person’s house, but till now, no one has turned up to take action."

Apart from the general helpline, the Greater Chennai Corporation has reopened a tele-counselling helpline for those in home isolation. It has a hundred parallel lines to ensure the helpline isn’t engaged.


Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent

Today's Tip of the Day - Capability And Reliability

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Wednesday, April 21, 2021

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2021 Buyers Guide IVR

Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.

Computer Data Services, LLC

Get the benefits of an expensive, on-premise telephone system without the high price tag and annoying maintenance.

- Never miss another phone call
- No more busy signals
- Feature rich
- Answer your calls from anywhere


Virtual Switchboard
Megacall provides a fully customised Virtual Switchboard software for all companies (including IVR service). No matter the size of your business, our services adapt to the needs of each client.

Are you looking for a more effective way to communicate with your customers? Discover the advantages of using the IVR and how it can help in your communications.


MightyCall's IVR that will increase your business’s efficiency at a fraction of the cost of a secretary. Your auto-attendant is designed to:
- Greet callers
- Deliver necessary information
- Forward calls to the appropriate extension
- Take human error out of the system

Nuxiba Technologies

Provide your customers with an effortless self-service experience. Easily create menus using predefined or custom prompts and data dips and route customers to live agents when needed.

Enable your customers to make payments and access information 24/7 at their convenience. Request a quote or live demo today.

OpsTel Services

The SPEED solution solves for service level issues while cost optimizing the environment with automation.

Provides an enhanced way to speed up & optimize invoking temporary agent skills configuration changes into the contact center environment.

Speed allows you to schedule both future changes & temporary changes that auto-revert back to the original state when scheduled time expires.

Speed features:

*Automated / Scheduled Temporary Agent Skills Configuration Management
*Immediate Temporary or Reoccurring Schedule Skills Configuration Changes
*Easy to Use/Operations Administration Focused
*Descriptive Monitoring Activity Dashboard
*Detailed “End to End’ Audit Trail and Performance Monitoring

Teckinfo Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

IVR Edge
IVR Edge is a high performance, robust and scalable ivr system that works on various leading hardware such as Dialogic, Keygoe and Synway etc. It can handle the simplest of simple to the most complex of requirements to when it come to creating an IVR. Integration with any 3rd party database, be it for banking, telecom, insurance, travel, payment gateway etc can be handled with ease. Ideally suited to create Hosted IVR and virtual patching solutions with scalabilities that can range from 4 to 128 E1’s per setup with voice recording and CDR functionality. Integration with leading text to speech (TTS) and speech recognition ASR engines add to the flexibility and functionality.

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