Europe

Covid pass app goes down stopping people from being able to leave the country

British holidaymakers are facing chaos after the NHS app went down this afternoon.

The smartphone app allows users to produce a QR code to show their coronavirus vaccine status for international travel.

While it is not legally required, many venues like nightclubs and concert halls are also asking to see people’s Covid passes.

But currently users are receiving an error message saying that high traffic is ‘limiting access to the service’.

At least one person said they ended up missing their flight because of the ongoing disruption.

Meanwhile others said they were travelling within the next few hours and weren’t sure what to do.

‘Currently not allowed to fly. Going to be an interesting afternoon at Heathrow.’

One person said: ‘Is there any estimation of how long the fix will take? Due to travel in 4 hours time, but won’t be if the app isn’t working again.’

Another added: ‘On a flight in half an hour, what do I do?’

NHS Digital says it is investigating the issue and promised an update ‘as soon as we can’.

Other functions on the app, including accessing health records, appear to still be working.

A paper version of the Covid pass can also be sent to fully-vaccinated people in England as a letter.

It is sent to the address on file with the person’s local GP, but it can take up to five working days to arrive, according to the NHS.

But head of Primary Care and Public Health at Imperial College London, Professor Azeem Majeed, urged people not to always rely on technology to work as it should.

He said: ‘Please remember to also have a printed COVID Pass that shows your COVID-19 vaccination details or test results to use for overseas travel in the event of an IT failure like this.’

People should also be able to download a PDF copy of their pass to save it on their phone or have it emailed to them days in advance, just to be on the safe side.

The NHS app, which can be used to access vaccine records, is different to the NHS Covid-19 app, which is used for contact tracing purposes and logging test results.

This is a breaking news story – more to follow.

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