The government removes its quarantined hotel booking page because it is not working
The online booking service for the government’s hotel quarantine program is down, preventing travelers from booking rooms just days before the policy takes effect on Monday.
Labor describes the problem as ‘extremely concerning’, saying the system was ‘showing signs of failure from the start’.
The portal launched on Thursday but was taken down shortly after it went live due to a “minor technical issue”. It shouldn’t be online again until 10 a.m. Friday.
From Monday, passengers returning to England from 33 countries must quarantine for 10 days at their own expense in a government-designated hotel.
A Department of Health spokesperson said the portal would be open “long before” the hotel quarantine program comes into effect, adding: “The website is currently undergoing work to correct a technical issue minor”.
Shadow Home Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said ministers must act urgently to get the booking website back up and running.
He said: “More than a year into this pandemic and 50 days after the discovery of the South African strain, there is no excuse for even more government incompetence in introducing the hotel quarantine.”
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel said the government must ensure there are enough hotel rooms available.
He added: “For the mandatory hotel quarantine to be effective, it is essential that the government ensures that there are enough rooms to accommodate UK arrivals from red list countries, to avoid that no one remains stranded abroad and significantly out of pocket for reasons beyond their control”.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has said police patrols will be stepped up at airports and ports as new hotel quarantine rules come into force.
People must fly into one of five specified airports, pay up to £1,750 for their stay and are ‘not guaranteed’ the ability to leave their rooms for exercise, according to guidelines released on Thursday.