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Lockdown fails to stop hundreds of illegal migrants crossing the Channel

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The coronavirus pandemic lockdown implemented across the United Kingdom has failed to stop hundreds of illegal migrants crossing on the English Channel in rubber dinghies.

Since the lockdown began in France and Britain, at least 550 people have attempted to make the crossing illegally.

The Government is reportedly not routinely testing new arrivals as Home Office data shows at least 481 migrants, including 14 children have crossed since the UK’s lockdown began on March 23.

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A further 69 people, including seven children, are believed to have arrived the previous week when France first went into lockdown on March 17.

Any migrant displaying symptoms is taken away for isolation, according to the Home Office.

A Border Force coastal patrol vessel.

Lucy Moreton of the Immigration Services Union (ISU), which represents border staff told The Times: “On a purely statistical basis, someone has to have brought it over.”

She added: “When a Border Force vessel picks these people up, there’s no way of assessing symptoms.

“They are cold, wet and often seasick.”

It has been revealed that unmanned drones are scanning the Channel for illegal migrants amid coronavirus fears, the twin-engined 7m craft, with cameras linked to patrol boats, can stay airborne for 20 hours.

Home Office officials confirmed the drone was operating after search patterns that have been questioned by some appeared on flight-tracking site Flightradar24.

The Home Office told the paper: “Migrants undergo a medical assessment on arrival and are routinely monitored.

“Should it ever be necessary, there are facilities to self-isolate in our asylum accommodation. We remain committed to stopping these illegal crossings.”

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