More chaos for holidaymakers as NHS Covid vaccine pass app crashes: Brits claim to have missed their flights from glitch
- NHS app is not displaying Covid passes because of ‘high traffic volumes’
- App went down earlier this morning and the NHS said it is ‘investigating’
- Britons travelling abroad today claim they have been forced to miss their flights
The NHS app is not allowing people to view their Covid vaccine passes as holidaymakers are left unable to board flights.
In yet more travel chaos, the app allowing people to prove their vaccination status is not displaying passes because of ‘high traffic volumes’.
The app went down earlier this morning and the health service said it is still ‘investigating the issue’.
Meanwhile desperate Britons travelling abroad today claim they have been forced to miss their flights, while others are left fretting about their plans.
People uploading their passenger locator forms are unable to attach their passes because of the issue.
The UK’s new simplified travel system was rolled out on Monday last week as ministers replaced the traffic light rules with a single ‘red list’ and a ‘rest of the world’ category.
Fully-vaccinated travellers returning from a ‘rest of the world’ country do not have to take a pre-departure test and are exempt from quarantine but they do have to take a day two test.
The app problems are the latest in a line of issues faced by travellers this summer, with long queues of up to four hours building up at Heathrow’s arrivals last week because of e-gates crashing at the airport.
The NHS app is not allowing people to view their Covid vaccine passes as holidaymakers are left unable to board flights
Government ministers are said to be considering scrapping the expensive and controversial hotel quarantine programme.
The news comes amid the travel list of ‘red’ nations being slashed to just seven this week and dwindling numbers of those in mandatory self-isolation testing positive for Covid.
Double-vaccinated people arriving in England from 47 new countries, including South Africa, Mexico and Thailand, will no longer be required to spend 11 nights in quarantine at a cost of £2,285 per traveller from Monday.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the decision to lift advice against non-essential travel meant people could ‘exercise personal responsibility’.
Close to 200,000 people returning from red-list countries have endured mandatory hotel quarantine restrictions since the policy was introduced earlier this year.
But Government data shows the percentage of hotel quarantine travellers testing positive for Covid dipped below the same figure for England’s population for the first time in August, the Telegraph reports.
The number of travellers arriving in the UK testing positive for the virus has remained below that of the general public for more than a month now.
Users trying to log on to the app to show their vaccine pass today are met with a message telling them to ‘try again later’.
It says: ‘The NHS Covid-19 Status service is experiencing very high traffic volumes. We are currently limit access to the service to prevent it from becoming overloaded.
‘Please try again later.’
Health bosses have not yet reported what caused the app to be unable to process traffic levels or given an indication of when the issue will be resolved.
NHS Digital said: ‘There are currently issues with accessing the Covid Pass on the NHS App and website.
‘We are investigating the issue and will update as soon as we can.’
Britons took to social media to report the problem, with hundreds saying they were worried about being able to travel.
Chuck Adolphy, who was planning to fly to Slovenia today, wrote: ‘Cheers guys missed my flight with it.’
And Caroline Frost said: ‘Waiting to fly at Heathrow and the NHS app has crashed with all the a Covid vaccination proof available.
‘Currently not allowed to fly. Going to be an interesting afternoon at Heathrow.’
Guy Holloway, who is moving to Barcelona tomorrow, said: ‘The NHS App won’t give me my Covid pass and I can’t therefore upload proof of vaccination to booking form.
‘Keeps saying “unexpected error” both in app and online. What can I do? Am travelling on Friday!’
And Simon Hutton wrote: ‘Am I the only one having issues getting a Covid pass on the NHS app or website?
‘Try to get one and it just says there are four ways to get a pass but no option to actually generate one.’
It comes after Heathrow’s e-gates crashed again last week leaving travellers stuck on planes for hours and waiting in long queues at arrivals.
One traveller estimated that more than a thousand people were waiting at immigration while another reported an expected waiting time of anywhere between two and four hours.
A Heathrow spokesman told MailOnline that the e-gates broke down due to a ‘national systems-wide issue’ but that they are all back up and running. The airport even appeared to be blaming Border Force, which manages e-gates at ports across the country, for the chaos.
Self-service passport gates at several major UK airports including Heathrow, Manchester, Stansted and Edinburgh all failed just over a fortnight ago, causing delays of several hours at arrivals. At the time, officials said the outage was caused by a ‘systems failure’.
A Home Office spokesman refused to explain why the e-gates keep crashing when approached by MailOnline for further information, saying it does not comment on ‘operational matters’.
They said in a statement: ‘This morning a technical issue affected eGates at a number of ports. The issue was quickly identified and has now been resolved.
‘We have been working hard to minimise disruption and continue to monitor the situation closely. We apologise to all passengers for the inconvenience caused.’
Tory MPs have demanded answers from the head of Border Force over the Heathrow queuing scandal seen in recent months but Paul Lincoln, the agency’s director general, has not commented publicly on the issue in recent weeks.
Travel industry experts have repeatedly warned the chaotic scenes seen in the wake of the country reopening are blighting the UK’s global reputation, while running the risk of a spike in Covid cases – further jeopardising the already crisis-hit tourism sector.
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