At least 550 illegal boat migrants have reached the UK from the beaches of France since the two countries first imposed nationwide lockdowns roughly one month ago to fight the spread of the Wuhan virus.
The UK’s Home Office recently released figures which revealed that no less than 481 migrants have illegally made their way across the English channel since Boris Johnson announced lockdown measures on March 23rd. Another 69 migrants reached British shores the week before.
Nine cases of coronavirus have be recorded so far at the migrant camps in Calais and Dunkirk.
Lucy Moreton, the former general-secretary of the Immigration Services Union (ISU), said: “On a purely statistical basis, someone has brought it over.”
The former immigration chief also told The Times that authorities aren’t testing the illegal migrants when they first arrive or when they’re rehoused in local council areas.
Despite claims from the Home Office that tests are being carried out on newly arrived migrants who show symptoms of having been infected with COVID-19, Moreton noted that, given the state that migrants often arrive in after crossing the Channel, it’s nearly impossible accurately spot symptoms of the virus.
“When a Border Force vessel picks these people up, there’s no way of assessing symptoms. They are cold, wet and often seasick,” Moreton said.
As Voice of Europe reported earlier this month, between 1,500 and 2,000 migrants who have been living in makeshift camps in Calais and Dunkirk, in northern France, would very much like to reach the UK via the English channel.
Because conditions at the camps in Calais and Dunkirk continue to worsen, more illegal Channel crossings are likely to continue.