Coronavirus doesn't deter migrants as more than 100 take on 'death-defying' Channel crossing

Men thought to be migrants are met by Border Force officers in Dover, Kent, after small boat incidents in The Channel earlier this morning. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
Fears of coronavirus hasn't stopped a surge in migrant crossings to the UK. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)

Coronavirus fears haven’t stopped a surge in migrants trying to cross to the UK in boats, with more than 100 people intercepted by border controls in the past week.

A total of 108 migrants have been intercepted by UK and French authorities trying to make the journey across the Channel, with 64 of those taken to the UK.

They included a number of incidents, with one involving the interception of a boat carrying 24 migrants — including seven children — who claimed to be Iranian and Iraqi nationals.

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The Home Office said migrants intercepted in the Channel and brought to the UK were being “closely monitored” for symptoms of coronavirus and Border Force and all operational staff had personal protective equipment (PPE) available to them.

Migrants wearing face masks were reportedly spotted at the Port of Dover in Kent.

More than 100 migrants have been intercepted trying to cross the Channel. (Picture: PA)
More than 100 migrants have been intercepted trying to cross the Channel. (Picture: PA)

Bella Sankey, from Detention Action, called for migrants to be given “safe accommodation, instead of indefinite detention” and the means to self-isolate if they need to.

She said: “The desperation of those making death-defying crossings during a global pandemic is self-evident.”

She added that following the Windrush report, “the Home Secretary says she wants to put fairness, dignity and respect at the heart of the Home Office’s mission and put people before process.

“If this is true, those seeking sanctuary here will be provided with safe accommodation, instead of indefinite detention, and given the means to self isolate if that is necessary.”

Fears have been raised over the potential for COVID-19 to spread through migrant camps, including 3,000 migrants living in northern France.