Only 7% of calls to Covid Cert helpline have been processed

Just 7 per cent of the calls made to the digital Covid certificate helpline were processed on Monday and Tuesday.

The Oireachtas Health Committee was updated on Wednesday morning by senior civil servants on the rollout of the Covid certs, which allow those who are fully vaccinated to travel around the EU.

As the Irish Examiner reports, the cert will also be necessary for entry to indoor hospitality in Ireland from next week.

Assistant general secretary at the Department of the Taoiseach Liz Canavan told the committee the call centre, which was opened on Monday, received 34,000 calls on Tuesday and 6,000 the day before.

However, Ms Canavan told the committee just 2,826 queries were resolved, about 7 per cent.

She said even with the additional resources added on Tuesday, the number of calls greatly outnumbered the estimates made based on holiday bookings.

She said the demand was “way beyond” what was anticipated.

“There have been very long waiting times for many callers and the call centre has not been able to meet the level of demand which involved over 40,000 in the last two days and over 34,000 calls yesterday alone,” she said.

“This 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.”

Non-urgent calls

She appealed to people who are not due to travel “in the short term” to wait to make contact with the helpline.

She said the helpline cannot issue recovery certs for those who may have had Covid-19. She said a new online form would be ready in the coming week.

“Non-urgent calls are adding very significant wait times to all calls, and preventing many urgent calls from getting through. At the moment, we would again urge people to only call the contact centre if you are due to travel in the next 10 days.”

About 7,500 of the 1.1 million emailed certs and 7,920 of the 500,000 physically mailed certs have either bounced back or not been delivered properly, the committee heard.

Fianna Fáil senator Lorraine Clifford Lee also challenged the civil servants on the quality and scope of the Irish language translation on the certificate.

She said the cert has the name of the country wrong, listing it as Republic of Ireland when the official name of the country is Ireland.

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