Digital Desk Staff
The Government is moving to deal with major backlogs in its Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) helpline.
An extra helpline on the DCC will be in place from today, so it will be able to take a far higher number of calls, senior government sources have said.
As the Irish Examiner reports, as a result, they say the person ringing will not get the call failed message.
The number to contact for the new DCC helpline is 1800 807 008.
In a recent press release, the Department of Health said: "Due to high demand on the existing Digital Covid Certificate freephone number, a second freephone number has been established today that will cater for a significantly higher number of calls. The new number is 1800 807 008. “
They said increased numbers of agents are available to answer your queries in relation to your vaccination certificate and to allow you to request your recovery certificate.
Thousands of people have been told to buy PCR tests costing up to €400 to allow them to leave the country this week after the Government’s Covid cert helpline buckled under the demand of calls.
The delays have been branded as “completely unacceptable”, with assurances given only last week by officials that the technology was able to cope with the level of calls.
As a result of the logjams, fully vaccinated or recovered Covid-19 passengers due to leave the country in the coming days have been left with no choice but to seek to get a PCR test as a “workaround”, with some paying several hundred euro.
With the return of non-essential travel yesterday, there were widespread complaints about not being able to access the helpline or being forced to wait several hours before an agent was available.
Junior transport minister Hildegarde Naughton accepted there were issues with the helpline.
“There have been issues with the helpline, but I can assure you the Government is working very hard in order to get that system back up and running as quickly as possible,” said Ms Naughton.
“This was the number one ask from the aviation sector that we can reopen international travel as safely as possible, adhering to public health guidance, so I would hope that that helpline will be back up and running as soon as possible."
The government had a “difficult day” in dealing with the calls, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said.
He accepted the staff numbers on in the call-centre was not sufficient to meet the high demand from the public who have been experiencing long delays and disconnections when attempting to retrieve their certs to allow them to travel.
He said the establishment of the second helpline should ease the pressure.