Beijing offers multi-lingual hotline services amid COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: Jan 12, 2021 Print
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Beijing 12345 Citizen’s Hotline Service Center [Photo by Luo Xin/Xinhua]

Upon arrival at an airport or railway station in Beijing, foreigners using Chinese phone numbers will receive a message which contains a reminder that they can call citizen hotline 12345 whenever they are in trouble or in need of help.

In order to provide prompt information and help for foreign expats, the 12345 hotline has been offering multi-lingual anti-pandemic services in eight languages, including English, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, Korean and Arabic.

Hotline operators answer calls in Chinese or English. If services in other languages are requested, they will initiate three-party calls with a corresponding language specialist in accordance with procedures.

The hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The operators have received comprehensive training on Beijing’s policies on pandemic controls, social security, and resumption of work and production. Questions that the operators cannot handle will be directed to relevant authorities to follow up.

Hotline operators are available to provide explanations of relevant policies and regulations. When taking calls from those suffering psychological distress or anxiety, the operators will seek to calm the caller's emotions. Should the caller develop a fever/cough or other symptoms that keep him/her from leaving home, the community authority will arrange home grocery deliveries for the caller in question.

The most frequently asked questions are related to Health Kit (a mini-program that provides COVID-19-related health status). The hotline service center has categorized relevant questions into application, status, operation and technical questions. In addition, questions relating to home quarantine policy and the delivery time of nucleic acid test results are also frequently asked.

12345 mainly addresses non-emergency matters, unlike hotlines such as 110 and 119. The cases accepted by 12345 exceeded 11 million in 2020, according to statistics from the Beijing Municipal Administration of Government Services.

The platform was created by the Beijing Municipal Administration of Government Services in joint efforts with the Foreign Affairs Office of the People's Government of Beijing Municipality and Beijing Foreign Studies University.

If you are in need of help, feel free to call 12345. You are also welcome to recommend it to friends around you!

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