911 nat'l emergency hotline fully operational again

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 30) — The government’s emergency hotline 911 has resumed normal operations, the Department of the Interior and Local Government announced on Wednesday.

The hotline temporarily went out of service in early September, after a number of its telecommunicators tested positive for COVID-19.

“Malugod po naming ipinapaalam sa lahat na balik sa normal na po ang ating operasyon sa E911 hotline,” Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said. “Maraming salamat sa inyong pang-unawa at dasal, nalampasan na ng ating mga kasamahan sa National Call Center ang pagsubok na ito.”

[Translation: We are glad to inform everyone that the E911 hotline operations are back to normal. We would like to thank you for your understanding and prayers, our colleagues at the National Call Center have been able to overcome this difficulty.]

During the brief hiatus, calls from the National Call Center were temporarily rerouted to eight local call centers.

Diosdado Valeroso, executive director of the emergency hotline, said the office had to be disinfected twice after 20 more of its agents from the Bureau of Fire Protection contracted the virus, apart from those initially reported. This caused further delay in the resumption of the regular operations, he said.

All of those infected have already recovered, according to Valeroso.

The 911 hotline is DILG-run and provides response and emergency assistance to people in distress. Calls coursed through this number include those that require police or emergency medical assistance, fire reports, search and rescue, and those that concern chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive materials.