Young child among 47 migrants brought ashore at port of Dover

27 April 2020, 21:12

At least 47 people were intercepted by UK Border Force officers
At least 47 people were intercepted by UK Border Force officers. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

A young child was among 47 people brought ashore by Border Force officers at the port of Dover on Monday.

New arrivals were pictured being assessed at the Kent port, accompanied by staff wearing face masks.

The four inflatable boats intercepted by officers were carrying people who claimed to be from Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and Syria.

A young child appeared to be seen being carried ashore in the arms of a suspected migrant, before being processed by border officials.

Despite Britain living under lockdown rules, implemented to combat the coronavirus crisis, the number of people attempting to cross the English Channel in April has been rising.

Last Friday, at least 76 migrants were stopped in five small boats, along with another 35 on Saturday.

A young child was among those appeared to be seen trying to enter the UK
A young child was among those appeared to be seen trying to enter the UK. Picture: PA

At least 911 migrants have made it into the UK so far in 2020, according to the most recent data.

Of those, more than half (533) arrived in the past month since Britain entered lockdown.

On Monday, the Home Office stressed the pandemic was not impacting its ability to respond to migrant crossings.

It said: "Coronavirus has had no impact on our operational response to small boat incidents. Border Force and Immigration Enforcement will always have the resources needed to tackle these illegal and dangerous crossings."

People brought ashore at Dover are assessed for Covid-19 symptoms, however they are not routinely tested.

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The Home Office refused to provide information on how many of the migrants involved in Monday's crossings were children.

Some concerns have been raised in the past week over the "heartbreaking" risks posed to children trying to cross the busy shipping lanes.

At least three were brought ashore on Friday.

Stephen Hale, chief executive of charity Refugee Action, said on Friday: "It's heartbreaking that people including young children are having to risk their lives to seek refuge in the UK due to a lack of safe and legal routes to get here.

"The government must stop talking tough and start thinking smart."