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Amusing: UK Government Quarantine Portal Went Down In Minutes


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Update: 25 hours after the UK government portal went down with a “minor technical issue” it finally came back to life – click for more details

Today is the day that the UK Government was due to release all the remaining details of its mandatory supervised quarantine program, and today was supposed to be the day that travelers would be able to book their quarantine hotel accommodation and the PCR tests that they’ll need to take while in quarantine. Unsurprisingly, things haven’t gone according to plan.

Most of the details of the government’s mandatory hotel quarantine program were released earlier today and I’ve had a post ready to go with most of the details. Unfortunately, the portal that the UK government has commissioned to allow incoming travelers to book themselves in for hotel quarantine, and to book their COVID tests for day 2 and day 8 of the 10-day quarantine period, failed almost as soon as it went live.

The portal (here) went live at 13:00 UK time but by the time I had a chance to visit it (approximately 10 minutes later) the site was already showing a message indicating that it was down for maintenance. A sign informed visitors that it would be back up by 15:00.

15:00 came and went and the portal was still not working, but the maintenance sign had been updated to say that it would be up and running at 16:00. To absolutely no one’s surprise, the portal was still down at 16:00, and now as the clock ticks past 19:00 UK time, the portal remains down and there’s no hint as to when it may go live.

They’re playing fast and loose with the word “soon”!

I have to confess that I’m finding this pretty amusing as this is a beautiful and simple example that sums up the UK government’s performance throughout the crisis so far. Aside from the vaccine rollout, nothing has gone right, nothing has worked when or how it should, and everyone is still waiting for the “world-beating” test and trace program that the government promised back in May and that has cost the taxpayer in excess of £20bn ($27.6bn) so far.

No doubt the unfortunate travelers waiting to book their quarantine hotel and their COVID tests for next week aren’t finding this particularly funny, but ineptitude, incompetence, and stupidity run rife in the halls of power in the UK and if you don’t laugh at it you’ll almost certainly find yourself curled up in the fetal position, in uncontrollable floods of tears despairing of the whole situation.

Apparently, the UK government’s website thinks that a 21+ hour outage of a vital portal is down to a “minor technical issue”.

Laughter really can be the best medicine and right now it’s probably best for everybody’s sanity if we laugh heartily at the latest UK government screw up. Shouting, crying, and complaining won’t make the slightest bit of difference so we may as well laugh.

I’ll publish a full post on the UK’s new hotel quarantine plans and rules together with a list of all 16 of the hotels that the government will be using when the portal finally goes live. As we currently have no idea when that may be and as I’m not going to be clicking ‘refresh’ every few minutes to see if the portal is finally live, it’s safe to assume that the TFM post will appear at some point tomorrow.

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