Special Covid helpline closes amid resurgence in cases

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The special Covid helpline on 0800 028 2816 has formally closed after helping more than three quarters of a million Scots during the pandemic.

The closure coincides with a resurgence in cases on Arran and across Scotland, however, the infection rates are far lower than the peaks experienced during the two lockdowns and significantly less hospitalisations are required.

The latest figures for Arran show that 32 people are currently infected, and many businesses are still feeling the effect of staff absences, while across Scotland as a whole there are 14,626 infections.

NHS 24’s Covid special helpline dealt with general coronavirus enquiries and supported individuals who did not have internet access to book PCR tests.

In May this year the service was reduced from 8am to 6pm, from 8am to 8pm, and closed on the weekends, owing to a fall in demand. The service formally closed at 4pm on Thursday June 30.

NHS 24 medical director Dr Laura Ryan said: ‘The formal closure of the non-clinical Covid 19 special helpline reflects how life is returning to a more normal or familiar pattern.

‘Covid-19 has not gone away. We still need continue to follow the current guidelines and advice to keep everyone safe.

‘This includes getting your vaccines, staying at home if unwell with Covid -19 symptoms, and simple but effective measures such as washing hands frequently.

‘There is an extensive range of information on NHS Inform including symptom checkers for Coronavirus which provide advice and suggest what to do if your condition worsens.

‘Remember, if you are unwell or concerned about your symptoms, please continue to access care as normal.’

Information and useful advice can still be found at www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus for anyone who has any concerns or who is looking for the latest NHS Scotland guidance.