SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Red Cross has urged elderly and vulnerable people living in self-isolation with coronavirus to call its hotline if they need help with shopping or social contact.
The organisation has increased its number of volunteers from 40,000 to 70,000 to cope with the extra demand. It also launched a hotline a week ago for people struggling with day to day tasks, particularly those living alone and are required to stay indoors.
‘That could be a phone call, but also walking the dog or picking up medicines,’ said a spokesman. The Red Cross has taken 12,000 calls from concerned citizens since it launched its hotline on March 16.
“A lot of people are calling with practical questions over things like shopping, but some callers just want a listening ear,’ said the spokesman. The helpline has also taken calls from people concerned about the welfare of relatives who live far away and are out of reach.
‘If your aunt lives in Assen and you’re in Vlissingen, we can well imagine that you’d appreciate somebody keeping an eye on her for the next while,’ Red Cross director Marieke van Schaik told AD.
‘Or you might be sick and sitting in quarantine but worried about your neighbour with a physical disability a few houses away.’