The Hellenic Police’s (ELAS) 100 emergency hotline received a record number of calls from concerned citizens in March when the government announced a series of measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus in the country, official data seen by Kathimerini reveal.
The call center, which normally receives some 6,000 to 7,000 calls daily, received 10,000 calls on March 10 when the government closed down schools. When cafes and restaurants followed suit on March 13, officers answered 12,405 calls.
But the record high was on March 23, when the day the government announced a restriction on public movement and the hotline was inundated with 25,780 calls.
The questions ranged from how to complete the new forms required to leave the house and which text message number corresponds to a medical appointment, to whether citizens could tend to their apiaries in the countryside.
“The pandemic brought the citizens, just like us, up against an unprecedented situation. We had to try to keep up with demand,” the emergency line’s supervisor, Second Lieutenant Ioanna Kosta, told Kathimerini.
The second major wave of calls came in the week ahead of the Orthodox Easter holiday (April 13-19) and mostly concerned citizens calling to ask whether they could visit relatives, travel outside Attica or even roast a lamb outdoors.
On Monday, the hotline received 16,000 calls, on Tuesday 17,500 and on Saturday 22,857.