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Coronavirus hotlines crash in two states

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Coronavirus hotlines in two Australian states have crashed following a mass influx of calls.

Coronavirus hotlines in two Australian states have crashed following a mass influx of calls.

"We've had problems with it before, but obviously it is being bombarded," NSW Health Minister Greg Hunt said today.

"People are told to call the hotline and it's not working? – The latest advice I have is that there have now been over 20,000 calls received and answered on the hotline."

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He said as of yesterday, waiting times had reached six minutes and they are now working to get more staff in to deal with the increased numbers.

The news comes after Victoria's dedicated coronavirus hotline and Nurse-On-Call Hotline both crashed earlier after calls increased.

Those agencies are in the process of putting on additional staff to handle the excess and are reminding the public to call their GP before attending, if they have symptoms and to refrain from calling Triple Zero unless it is an emergency.

While the phone lines have crashed, one Melbourne doctor has resorted to seeing patients in their cars.

Former Australian Medical Association president Mukesh Haikerwal puts on a moon suit, mask and shoe covers before meeting patients outside his Altona North clinic.

After calling ahead, patients drive to the car park and remain in their vehicles before Dr Haikerwal comes out to take a swab while protected from transmitting the disease.

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"They park outside the building and we go out one entrance that is okay to go out of to do the swabs, collect the swabs and they can go off and self-isolate until their result comes back," Dr Haikerwal told 3AW radio.

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"We go to our flu area and clean up all of our dirty garb... We are clean, they are clean. And nobody is contaminating the waiting area of rest of the practice, so it is clean."

The makeshift car park clinic is the first of many expected to open in the coming weeks at car parks and open spaces, near medical practices across Melbourne.

The federal government has flagged funding the drive-through COVID-19 testing sites at up to 10 Victorian medical clinics, Australian Medical Association Victorian president Julian Rait told 3A.

A total of 15 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the state.

A Melbourne private school has been closed after a teacher tested positive to the illness with staff and students directed to stay home today.

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The principal of Carey Baptist Grammar School in Kew released an email to parents and staff last night saying community health and safety is the school's first priority and they are in discussion with the Department of Health and the Department of Education about how to manage the situation.

Last week, it was confirmed an infected Melbourne doctor had consulted with around 70 patients at his Toorak clinic.

Dr Chris Higgins tested positive to coronavirus after showing symptoms on a flight from the US last Saturday. 

With agencies

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-victoria-hotline-overwhelmed-by-calls-for-medical-assistance/5a2d7a81-3fbe-4c72-b951-6ae4a5dd780f

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