The new booking system for England’s hotel quarantine scheme crashed minutes after going live and was then taken off line. Twenty-four hours later, the site still displays a message that the booking portal won’t be available until “later today” due to a “minor technical issue.” The Department of Health has said that the portal would be open “well before” the scheme comes into effect on Monday, February 15. The site was still inaccessible at 9am on Friday, February 12.
Once the scheme comes into effect, anybody – including UK and Irish citizens – arriving from the so-called ‘red list’ of 33 countries will have to isolate in a government-mandated hotel for 10 days at a cost of £1,750. The list of countries includes most of South America, South Africa and Portugal, which are deemed high risk due to emerging variants of the Covid virus.
The Irish government has proposed introducing a similar hotel quarantine scheme, but has not yet announced any details of how it would work or when it might start.