This decision by the health department came after the Karnataka HC asked the state government to clarify why only one number was provided for this purpose.

Staff cleaning a hospital floor
news Coronavirus Wednesday, July 15, 2020 - 10:08

The Karnataka Health and Family Welfare Department on Tuesday night said that in case COVID-19 patients or their families cannot access the 1912 helpline to enquire about beds they can email or WhatsApp for the same purpose.

“In case toll free 1912 is not reachable due to various reasons, you can send mail to 1912covidhelpline@gmail.com Or Whatsapp +91 9480812450,” an official of the department said.

It may be recalled that 1912 helpline, which was originally meant to register complaints with BESCOM (Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited), was made available to address enquiries of COVID-19 hospitals in the wake of the crisis.

This decision by the health department came after the Karnataka High Court earlier in the day asked the state government to clarify why only one number was provided for this purpose. 

Deccan Herald quoted the bench led by Chief Justice AS Oka as saying that the state should clarify exactly how many lines are allotted to receive enquiries about COVID-19 beds given it is the only way to seek information on the same. The bench noted that the 1912 number can get more than 20,000 complaints daily during monsoon. As a result, it will be virtually impossible for someone to get through to the operator, the HC observed. The bench said there needs to be a “proper mechanism” put in place to address the issue.

The Times of India reported that both Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development Department and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Commissioner were present during the hearing as asked by the HC during the previous hearing.

Further, the HC questioned the government and sought clarity on how ambulance services were provided for COVID-19 patients. To this, the BBMP responded that it alone is running 313 ambulances in addition to state government run ‘108’ ambulance service.

These issues came up as the HC bench led by CJ Oka was hearing a bunch of petitions relating to COVID-19 management in the city. 

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