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Fewer than 3,000 calls to travel cert hotline dealt with out of 40,000

Fewer than 3,000 individuals out of greater than 40,000 who known as a helpline over the past two days with a question in regards to the digital Covid certificates had their queries handled, it emerged on Wednesday.

People with queries over their Covid cert for journey have been urged to not contact the decision centre except they’re resulting from go overseas within the subsequent ten days.

There had been “unprecedented” demand on the helpline in line with senior Government official Liz Canavan mentioned.

Ms Canavan made her remarks on the Oireachtas Committee on Health this morning the place TDs and Senators got an replace on the rollout of greater than 2.1 million Covid certs for absolutely vaccinated individuals.

She mentioned there have been greater than 40,000 calls over Monday and Tuesday however the committee was instructed that simply 2,826 of those have been immediately dealt with by brokers.

The lack of capability within the system was criticised by Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane.

The committee heard the decision centre opened with 55 employees however that 30 extra are being added in the present day and there will likely be greater than 100 subsequent week.

Ms Canavan mentioned the decision centre was arrange at an “exceptional pace” and capability couldn’t have been constructed any quicker.

She mentioned: “We know there have been very long waiting times for many callers and the centre has not been able to meet the level of demand which involved over 40,000 calls in the last two days and over 34,000 calls yesterday alone.”

Assessment

Ms Canavan, an assistant secretary common on the Department of the Taoiseach, mentioned the quantity of calls “far exceeds estimates of call centre demand based on an assessment of travel bookings and survey or insights data on travel intentions that Government or industry have access to.”

She mentioned the decision centre was coping with complicated queries with greater than 150 scripts being developed to help brokers reply queries and as they turn out to be extra accustomed to the complexities of queries “we anticipate that number of calls handled will increase”.

She mentioned there have been “technical capacity issues” on Monday, and capability was elevated from Tuesday morning by a second freephone quantity that can cater for a considerably greater variety of calls.

However, she mentioned the decision volumes have been “unprecedented” and the decision centre remained “exceptionally busy”.

She urged individuals to name solely whether it is “urgent” and they’re planning to journey within the subsequent ten days.

Ms Canavan mentioned the “demand means that many individuals are calling that aren’t resulting from journey within the short-term.

“These non-urgent calls are adding very significant wait times to all calls, and preventing many urgent calls from getting through.”

She mentioned the centre can solely assist queries in relation to vaccination certificates and restoration certificates nevertheless it was getting calls from individuals with requests for certificates for PCR or antigen assessments.

She mentioned individuals get these certificates from third social gathering suppliers and particulars of how that system works was obtainable ongov.ie/travel.

Complex requests

She mentioned most of the 2,826 calls dealt with on Monday and Tuesday concerned complicated a number of requests involving the small print of entire households.

The committee was instructed that 1,058 certificates particulars have been despatched for re-generation and it’s anticipated these will likely be reissued inside 5 days.

An additional 731 queries have been despatched to HSE requiring additional investigation earlier than a certificates might be issued.

There will likely be a brand new on-line type to request restoration certificates for eligible individuals to be launched this week.

Ms Canavan mentioned: “We regret the delays some people are experiencing and are learning and continuing to improve the service each day.”

She requested individuals who haven’t obtained DCCs but to attend just a few extra days if they don’t seem to be travelling within the quick time period.

“We completely recognize that any member of the general public who has not but obtained a certificates or has an error on the certificates that will should be corrected could also be anxious.

“However, we are satisfied that we will be in a position to resolve queries quickly and unless you need certificate urgently we would encourage people to wait a few more days.”

Mr Cullinane criticised the failure to anticipate the demand and instructed Ms Canavan: “I’m not putting all of this on you. What I’m saying is the communication on this has been absolutely appalling.”

He added: “People anticipated they could make a call and get a response and it hasn’t happened.”

Mr Cullinane requested in regards to the 2,826 calls that have been truly dealt with on Monday.

Ms Canavan mentioned: “that number of calls processed as in they spoke to agent and had their query specifically dealt with.”

She mentioned there will even be individuals who received info as a part of the automated voice system however she couldn’t present a breakdown of how many individuals.

Mr Cullinane mentioned: “I think we can take it for granted that 2,826 people had their calls processed and had the information. I would imagine there are thousands that did not.”

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