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Coronavirus Kent: Migrants checked for Covid-19 after being picked up in Channel


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A total of 25 migrants were picked up in the Channel yesterday.

And because of the coronavirus pandemic all were checked to see if they had the virus.

One of the Border Force boats in Dover Harbour (25250629)
One of the Border Force boats in Dover Harbour (25250629)

Border Force wer alerted to two incidents of small boats heading towards the UK.

At 4.30am yesterday (Tuesday) officers intercepted a RHIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat), which had 16 men who said they were Iranian.

At 8.30am they stopped another RHIB with nine men who also presented themselves as Iranian.

A Home Office spokesman said that they were taken on board the Border Force cutters and brought to Dover.

There they received further medical assessment, including checks for symptoms of coronavirus.

All were afterwards transferred to immigration officials to be interviewed and their cases will be dealt with according to the immigration rules.

The Home Office spokesman added: "In line with Public Health England guidance, Border Force and all operational staff have the relevant personal protective equipment available to them."

The Home Office was asked if any of the 25 tested positive for COVID-19 and the spokesman said: "We don't provide a running commentary on testing. DHSC (Department of Health and Social Care) release an update on COVID-19 testing and cases daily."

These incidents reflect a continuing trend since 2018 of migrants trying to reach the UK by small craft.

Others have also been rescued mid-sea and been brought to Dover.

A number of migrants have additionally landed in areas such as Deal, Kingsdown, Folkestone and Romney Marsh.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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