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Covid cert helpline remains under pressure with callers waiting over 90 minutes

The State's Digital Covid Certificate helpline remains under significant pressure, with callers on average waiting over 90 minutes to receive help.

The helpline was set-up to field queries relating to the digital cert, which can be obtained by those who are fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from Covid. The certs are being used to facilitate non-essential international travel within the EU and indoor dining within the State.

According to The Irish Times, in the first week of the helpline being operational fewer than 10 per cent of calls were dealt with by staff.

To ease the pressure on the helpline an online portal was also established to allow those who have recovered from the virus with the last six months to apply to receive their cert. The portal has received over 5,300 since it was set-up on Friday, July 23rd.

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According to figures from the Department of Health, the helpline received over 126,000 calls since Monday, July 19th, just 10,500 of which were dealt with.

A statement from the department confirmed 85 call agents were fielding queries as of Friday, up from 55 on the previous Friday.

The interactive voice response (IVR) response system has also been amended to offer more information "and signpost callers to other routes".

The department confirmed the average wait-time of over 90 minutes, but added average handling time is just under nine minutes.

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Overall, 2.3 million digital certs have been issued to date and the Government has urged members of the public not to contact the helpline unless they are travelling within the next 10 days.

The online portal to request a cert if you have recovered from Covid within the past six months can be accessed through the Government's website. The helpline number is 1800-807 008, however, the department stress this should only be used by those with an urgent query.

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