Migrants crossing English Channel – but are not tested for coronavirus

Border Force stops intercept 130 migrants in a week at sea and NONE are being tested for coronavirus

  • Migrants stopped crossing the Channel to Britain for a fifth consecutive day
  • It comes after 63 migrants crammed into four boats were stopped on Tuesday 
  • 130 migrants have arrived in four days, bringing the total to 630 this year
  • But none are being tested for coronavirus – in line with public health guidance 

Border Force officers have stopped migrants crossing the Channel for a fifth consecutive day as the MailOnline can reveal none of the 130 who have been brought into Dover this week have been tested for coronavirus.

It comes after 63 migrants crammed in four small boats were stopped on Tuesday, bringing the total number this week alone to more than 130 and this year to more than 630.

It also comes as latest figures show there have been 55,242 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, while 6,159 people have died. 

But the MailOnline can confirm that none of the migrants stopped since the outbreak of coronavirus have been tested.

That is despite reports that some of those living in migrant camps in France have been infected with the deadly virus.    

The Home Office say that rather than test asylum seekers, they will instead be examined by nurses and doctors for any symptoms of Covid-19.

Any person showing symptoms will be isolated if they show symptoms, including those in detention centres, where special isolation areas have been set up, the Home Office say.

A spokesperson said the policy is in line with guidance from Public Health England (PHE).

Migrants have today been stopped crossing the Channel to Britain for a fifth consecutive day. Pictured: Border Force officers bring migrants into the Ports of Dover on Wednesday

Border Force officers stopped 63 migrants crammed in four small boats on Tuesday, bringing the total number caught this week to more than 130. Pictured: Border Force officers bring migrants into the Ports of Dover on Wednesday

It has sparked one MP to call for an immediate 14 day quarantine for asylum seekers attempting to cross the Channel into Britain.

Hundreds of refugees have made it to the UK in recent weeks, taking the total number to more than 630 this year.

On Tuesday, a group of 18 Iranian, Iraqi and Kuwaiti men were picked up in a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB).

Another RHIB carrying 13 men and two women – who presented themselves as Iraqi and Iranian nationals – also arrived around the same time.

At 5.15am a Border Force vessel intercepted an inflatable boat with 14 men who said they were Iranian and Iraqi.

An hour later another RHIB with 14 men and two women was picked up. The group said they were Yemeni, Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian.   

On Monday, seven migrants from Sudan and Chad were taken in by a Border Force coastal patrol vessel at 4.55am.

They came after 53 refugees arrived on Saturday and a further 12 on Sunday.

The number of asylum seekers stopped today has not yet been released. 

The Home Office said all of the migrants were taken to Dover. 

A spokesperson said: ‘All individuals were brought to Dover and, in line with established processes, will be assessed to establish whether there are any medical requirements. No issues reported.

‘All will be transferred to immigration officials. They will be interviewed and their cases will be dealt with in line with the immigration rules, transferring to detention where appropriate.

The Home Office says asylum seekers will not be tested for coronavirus on arrival, and will instead be checked by nurses and doctors for any symptoms of Covid-19 and will be put into isolation if they are shown. Pictured: Border Force officers stopped four boats on Tuesday

A spokesperson said the procedure to monitor and isolate those showing coronavirus symptoms is in line with guidance from Public Health England (PHE). Pictured: Border Force officers attend to a migrant on Saturday

‘In line with Public Health England guidance, Border Force and all operational staff have the relevant personal protective equipment available to them.’

Last week it emerged that at least three migrants in camps across Calais and Dunkirk – where around 1,500 are living in squalor – had been diagnosed with coronavirus, sparking fears the disease could be spreading like wildfire in the settlements.

Dover’s Conservative MP, Natalie Elphicke, is one of those to raise concern.

She said: ‘France’s lockdown means people need permission just to walk the dog. So how come hundreds of migrants can still pile into small boats and illegally motor into Britain?

Dover’s Conservative MP, Natalie Elphicke, is one of those to raise concern about the spread of coronavirus among migrant camps in France

‘We know that the coronavirus has infected the French camps.

‘The French have been paid tens of millions of pounds to stop these dangerous journeys being made – it’s vital the Home Office make the French honour their obligations in order to stop the further spread of the virus into Britain.

‘I have long said that anyone seeking to break into Britain should be immediately returned to France.

She added: ‘Given the public health risk, anyone arriving who is not returned must be immediately quarantined for 14 days to protect public health – and safeguard the Port of Dover’s vital role in supplying the nation with food and medicines.’ 

Tony Eastaugh, Home Office director for crime and enforcement, said: ‘These crossings are facilitated by criminals. We are doing everything in our power to bring them to justice and stop this illegal activity.

‘We are working around the clock with the NCA and French law enforcement agencies to arrest and dismantle organised crime gangs. Since January 2019, 110 people smugglers have been convicted and imprisoned and over 155 people who arrived on small boats have been returned.

‘And that’s not all, there are now extra patrols on French beaches, drones, specialist

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